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Christopher Marlowe 


Who euer lova, mat lov'd not at first sight? 

New York The MacmiUan Company 1Q60 


All rights reserved no part of this book may be 
reproduced in any form without permission in writ- 
ing from the publisher t except by a reviewer who 
wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a 
review written for inclusion in magazine or news- 

Macmillan Paperbacks Edition 1960 

The Macmillan Company, New York 
Brett-Macmillan Ltd., Gait, Ontario 


William McCleery 

FOREWORD .... page xi 











xii MARLOWE'S MIGHTY LINE . . . 1 1 1 
xiii MARLOWE'S TABLE TALK . . .125 

PEARE . . . . . .167 


XX THE ARREST OF KYD . . . .185 


viii Contents 



xxii MARLOWE'S TABLE TALK (Continued} 194 


XXV THE END OF KYD . . . . 2 1 8 





NOTES .- L.. t . . 255 


INDEX . * A . , .267 


Sermon by the Hour-Glass 30 

Elizabeth's London 44 

Title Page : Tamburlaine the Great 59 

Emperor As Footstool To Tamburlaine 7 1 

Title Page : Doctor Faustus 112 

Alleyn As Faustus, Devil As Devil 117 

The Turks Attack Malta 1 3 1 

Title Page : The Massacre At Paris 140 

Title Page : Edward the Second 174 

Elizabeth's Westminster 195 

Tide Page : Hero and Leander 23 5 

Title Page : The Jew of Malta 250 


I N that distant ElizabetEan world tfironged by sKaHowy 
figures bearing great names, Christopher Marlowe is 
the radiant one, 'the Muses' darling* in a contemporary's 

His work and his personality have stirred the imagina- 
tions of many men. Charles Lamb wrote: 'The death- 
scene of Marlowe's king moves pity and terror beyond 
any scene, ancient or modern, with which I am ac- 
quainted.' To Lowell in America it was: 'With him I 
grew acquainted during the impressible and receptive pe- 
riod of my youth. He was the first man of genius I had 
ever really known, and he naturally bewitched me.' To 
Shakespeare he was the only poet of his time worthy to be 

To read him today is to know again the youth of man 
and the youth of the theater. The mere mention of his 
name can excite even those who know him only by a few 
lines learned in school. His fascination is the more ex- 
traordinary because we do not possess a single portrait or 
description of him. We may assume that he went bearded 
in the fashion of his age that is all 5 but whether he wore 
a trim, scholarly brush like Shakespeare 5 a fat, rounded 
one like Jonson, a Jovian one like Chapman, or a long 


xii Foreword, 

and pointed one like Greene whether he was tall or 
short, or had blue eyes or brown or gray we probably 
shall never know. He is elusive. From school to early 
death his name underwent remarkable variations: Marley 
(the way he and his father wrote it) in Canterbury} 
Marlin, Merling and Morley at Cambridge; Marie, Mar- 
lowe and other variations in London. Sometimes, as a re- 
sult, he is almost lost to us in the welter of Elizabethan 
documents; but we always know our man because his 
troubles were consistent. 

We know from his work that his spirit was kin to ex- 
altation; but we learn from the records of his life that he 
was quick to grasp sword, voice turning ugly and provoc- 
ative, fist clenched for threat or striking; that he was a 
scorner of the unlearned, a scholar and blasphemer; but 
above all, that he was young: young in life, young in 
death twenty-nine when thrust through the head by a 
dagger in a tavern quarrel. In dealing with a poet, how- 
ever, a chronology of violence may be less biographical 
than certain lines 

Where both deliberat, the loue is sligKt, 
Who euer lovM, that lovM not at first sight? 

For three and a half centuries, men who hated him, 
men who worshipped, plodders drawn thither by the 
gleam of poetry, have come to Marlowe's shrine and de- 
posited their books and pamphlets. To see him clearly 
now, it is necessary to beat back through the woods of 
words to his own day. Although I am largely indebted 

Foreword xiii 

to the research of others, as all must be who turn to the 
study of Marlowe's life, I cannot help remarking at the 
start that it is precisely what they failed to do that led 
me to undertake this biography. 

My aim was to bring him and his friends and enemies 
into focus first, as men; second, as Elizabethans against 
the background of their time. It is perhaps possible to 
write another kind of book about Marlowe; here, the 
occasionally full accounts of his acquaintances is in ac- 
cordance with my plan, which was to throw light on his 
life by showing how his familiars lived, whenever the 
records dealing exclusively with him seemed inadequate. 
I have, however, saved my readers the tedium of ac- 
quaintance with all the Christopher Marlowes who were 
not the poet, but whom I have had to meet, albeit under 
the most erudite auspices. As for the courtlings whose 
roles may possibly furnish us with a notion of Marlowe's 
extra-literary activities, I leave them in the shadows 
from which they were invoked by scholars. Marlowe is 
our man we can't have enough of him. 

As a matter of fact, it is only when Marlowe is in trou- 
ble that we find any trace of him outside his writing. The 
legal documents concerning him tell much about his char- 
acter, dramatically supplementing the personality re- 
vealed in his work. To quote bits from these, as some 
have done, with comments pedantic or pontifical, did not 
seem sufficient, and I have made them the foundation of 
this work. They tell the story of Marlowe and his deal- 
ings as it was told by his contemporaries. Nothing less 
should satisfy us. It remains to be added that while I have 

xiv Foreword 

scrupulously adhered to the story found in the records 
and documents, occasionally, in the accompanying dra- 
matic reconstructions, it has been necessary to go beyond 
them. No incident, however, has been projected without 
warrant from the records, and I have not put words into 
his mouth, with an 'Od's bodikins 5 to lend verisimilitude. 

I take this opportunity of acknowledging the publi- 
cation of Chapter Four and parts of Chapters Five and 
Six in Theatre Arts. I have also utilized a paragraph or 
two and several sentences from an article on Marlowe 
which I wrote for The Bookman. Thanks are due to my 
friends, Mr. Francesco Bianco and Mr. Willard R. Trask, 
for much useful advice and assistance with translations} 
to Colonel John Bakeless for generously placing at my 
disposal photostats of Marlowe documents and some of 
the illustrations used in this book, and for his kind offer 
to read the galleys with the following remark, 'that I 
must read the book some time and may as well do it when 
I can still be of use;' to Dr. Samuel A. Tannenbaum 
for many pleasant and fruitful discussions j and to Mr. 
John S. Lamont. 

The quotations from Marlowe's work are from Profes- 
sor Tucker Brooke's Oxford edition, and it is his canon 
that I follow. For those unfamiliar with Elizabethan 
spelling, it may be useful to point out that the letter 9 
may stand for c j, J and that c u' and V are inter- 


Cnristopner Marlowe 


Poet and Queen 

IN the year of Our JCorH 1587, Christopher Marlowe, 
divinity student, ended his school days by wresting an 
M.A. from Cambridge with the assistance of Elizabeth's 
Privy Council. He tasted triumph quickly, and its giddi- 
ness never left him. The savor of his victory may be 
found in a boast 

And tis a prety toy to be a Poet 

early in his first play for the London stage. 

In 1587, Elizabeth <la plus fine femme du monde,' 
as Henry III of France called her, with witty ambiguity 
had occupied the throne of England twenty-nine years. 
She had reached her irascible stage. 'She was of person- 
age tall, of hair and complexion fair, and therewith well 
favoured, but high nosed, of limbs and features neat, and 
which added to the lustre of those exteriour Graces, of 
Stately and Majestick comportment.' Thus Sir Robert 
Naunton 1 has described her, adding: 'Toward her last 
she grew hard to please.' 

Yet not only the Muses, but the gods as well, had 
smiled upon her reign, and the god of love was one of 
their company. Her suitors had all been optimisticj they 


4 The Muses' Darling 

could not foresee, from the way she played the game, 
that one day a poet would write, 

A most unspotted lily shall she pass 
To the ground, 

and that it would be the truth, so far as they were con- 
cerned. Perhaps what Ben Jonson told Drummond of 
Hawthornden, however, 'that she had a membrana on 
her which made her uncapable of man/ had something 
to do with it. 

She was not precisely the paragon one might imagine 
from all this. She was indecisive and malicious, with all 
the caprices of a woman who, apparently, was something 
less or something more. Who can say now what she really 
was? Her cold eyes look from the splendid portraits, look 
out and give no signj but her attire, sown with jewels, the 
ruffs and frills setting off that plain and sharp countenance, 
tell something 5 as does the flattery she accepted as her 
due from all men masters of action by land or by sea, 
and men who could put sweet cadences into the iron Eng- 
lish tongue. All did her bidding the far-famed, laced 
and jeweled Earl of Leicester bent his ribboned knee to 
her, her Puritan and practical chief councilor, Sir Francis 
Walsingham, kept sharp his wits and his wisdom for her 
and for the realm. 

Jonson's gossip from the court poses, perhaps it re- 
solves, the enigma of Elizabeth. 

The tragedy of Mary Stuart was past; the ordeal of 
Essex was in the future. Pending was the Armada. The 

Poet and Queen 5 

death of the Scottish Queen had sent ambassadorial 
pouches pell-mell out of London to stir the courts of Eu- 
rope, and rumors of war or invasion blew in with the 
winds from the great ports to the hinterland. In a spider 
web of plot and counterplot, Elizabeth's Privy Council 
watched over the realm, its spies in Rome, in Paris, in the 
Catholic seminary at Rheims, haven of fugitives from 
Protestant England. At its head was ever-ailing Secre- 
tary Walsingham, 2 trim-bearded like a scholar, and with 
an orange stuck full of cloves pendent from his neck to 
dispel, with a sniff, the miasmas of plague or hypochon- 
dria. His enmity to the Catholic cause went back fifteen 
years to a night in the Faubourg St. Germain, where he 
had dwelt as Her Majesty's ambassador. Suddenly the 
bells of churches began to ring out, thronging the night 
air with sound, and terrified Englishmen clamored at his 
door, their faces etched with horror. The Massacre of St. 
Bartholomew's Eve had begun. He had never forgotten. 
The fall of the ax at Fotheringhay had been mainly his 
doing; he was Mary's implacable foe. But Puritan though 
he was, his hatred of her had been political, not religious, 
for he saw in her while she lived a rallying point for the 
enemies of Elizabeth. For fifteen years, since he had asked 
to be recalled from Paris, all his influence and machina- 
tions had been directed toward Mary's destruction. Now 
it was over. He had served his royal mistress well. But 
England's danger was not over. There loomed now, on 
the horizon of his thoughts, James of Scotland, Philip of 
Spain, and 'that sweet enemy, France' his late son-in- 
law's phrase, Sir Philip Sidney. 

6 The Muses' Darling 


It is June's end. Damp ghosts from the Thames haunt 
the administration building at Westminster where he 
pores over state papers. Outside, on the busy river, water- 
men's cries take the air like gulls. 

He sits in the Privy Council chamber, mulling over his 
memories, and smiles benignly at a resolution in the Coun- 
cil minutes, drawn up at a session which he had not at- 
tended. Present had been the Lord Archbishop, Lord 
Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Lord Chamberlain and Her 
Majesty's Comptroller} under their joint hands a stern 
letter had been despatched to the University of Cam- 
bridge, and even as Secretary Walsingham reads, a mes- 
senger of Her Majesty's Chamber is posting northeast 
to deliver it: 

'Whereas it was reported that Christopher Morley was 
determined to haue gone beyond the seas to Reames and 
there to remaine Their Lordships thought good to cer- 
tefie that he had no such intent but that in all his accons he 
had behaued him selfe orderlie and discreetelie wherebie 
he had done her majestie good service, and deserued to be 
rewarded for his faithfull dealinge: Their Lordships' re- 
quest was that the rumor thereof should be allaied by all 
possible meanes, and that he should be furthered in the 
degree he was to take this next Commencement: Because 
it was not her majesties pleasure that anie one emploied 
as he had been in matters touching the benefitt of his Coun- 
trie should be defamed by those that are ignorant in th' 
affaires he went about.' 8 

Poet and Queen 7 

What a salutation indeed from the Queen's Majesty 
to her humble servant, a poet! All the stories of Mar- 
lowe as spy, as a plotter or complotter, stem from the con- 
temporary gossip that prompted the Privy Council to 
frame this extraordinary document 5 and from the docu- 
ment itself. The gossip began on the campus of Cambridge, 
and spilled over into London during Marlowe's absences 
from the university. The document, unfortunately, is as ex- 
asperating as it is intriguing. Their Lordships had no in- 
tention of telling any more than they had to in order to 
make it an effective instrument to crown Marlowe's 
academic career with a master's degree. They have indeed 
told as little as possible. No other information has been 
garnered to supplement or illumine their dark phrase- 
ology. What are the probabilities? 

Marlowe had absented himself considerably from 
Corpus Christ! College. The gossip was that he went to 
Rheims, a center of Catholic plots against Elizabeth^ 
Their Lordships state that he did not intend to remain 
there; if we assume from this that he actually went to 
Rheims, it was not as a Catholic proselyte that he went. 
The contrary appears to be true, for the document states 
by inference that he was back, and unequivocally that 'he 
had done her majestie good service' in 'matters touch- 
ing the benefitt of his Countrie.' 

What 'good service' was it in his power to do? If he 
went to Rheims, was it not to the Catholic seminary there? 
If his role was that of a spy perhaps 'observer' would 
be a more approximate word he would have been wel- 
comed in his divinity student's gown. 

'8 The Muses' Darling 

Their Lordships are at pains to distinguish his behavior 
as orderly and discreet} given a mission of some impor- 
tance to accomplish, he had accomplished it satisfactorily. 
Perhaps in addition to going to Rheims, Marlowe had been 
instructed to indicate papist predilections to his fellow di- 
vinity students, in which case reports of his leanings would 
have preceded him abroad, to smooth the way. This would 
sufficiently account for the necessity of an official denial 
afterwards. Marlowe's table talk, it was reported against 
him later, praised Catholic ritual and may date from this 
period: That if there be any god or any good Religion, 
then it is in the Papistes because the service of god is per- 
formed with more Cerimonies, as Elevation of the mass, 
organs, singing men, Shaven Crownes & eta. That all pro- 
testantes are Hypocriticall asses*' 

It is even possible that Marlowe did not go abroad at 
all, but, after stating his own position, falsely, merely 
acted as an informer on those who confided in him their 
supposedly mutual sympathies. I do not choose to accept 
this last view, but I give it. If this was so, in mitigation 
it might be said that those who planned to join the Cath- 
olic nestlings at Rheims or Rome were traitors to their 
government and their school, and being double-dealers 
themselves, merited double-dealing. 

One other point might be noted. Whether Marlowe 
went to Rheims or not, he was able to observe, at first 
hand, political intrigue cloaked by religion orthodoxy as 
a device of policy and the servants of God flouting the 
divine laws of conduct to ripen his cynicism early. 


T A Pattern for Conflict 


THE road taken by Christopher Marlowe to the high 
places of London is dark, but here and there along 
the way a sudden lantern lights up a surmise. Consider- 
ing his beginnings and his end, his life appears as a pat- 
tern for conflict 5 but perhaps this can be said of any life. 
Those who find significance in violent contrasts will no 
doubt observe that his bold thought and rebellious spirit 
emerged from an atmosphere of unruffled sanctity. 

In 1540, Christopher Marley, tanner, of the parish of 
Westgate, Canterbury, bequeathed his soul to God and 
all the company of heaven, leaving money and lands to 
his wife Joan ; and c to the child that she goyth with all if 
hitt be a man child,' two houses, together with furniture 
and hangings, and some additional land. This posthumous 
child and heir, who was named John, is believed to have 
been the father of Christopher Marlowe, and there is much 
to bolster such a belief. He wrote his name as Marley all 
his life $ he was apprenticed to a shoemaker, which was 
natural for the son of a tanner, and he became a shoe- 
maker himself. In 1561, when he was twenty-one years 
old, he married Catherine Arthur, presumably the daugh- 
ter of Christopher Arthur, sometime rector of St. Peter's^ 


IO The Muses' Darling 

Canterbury. The poet, therefore, was named for either of 
his grandfathers, or for both. 

Christopher Marlowe was born on or about February 
26, 1564, two months before Shakespeare. The first defi- 
nite record of his life appears in the register of St. George 
the Martyr, near St. George's Gate, the church in which 
his parents were married: 

The 26 th day of ffebruary was "Christened 
Christofer the sonne of John Marlow. 

He was the Marlowes* second child, die first having been 
a girl who did not survive the rigors of an Elizabethan 
upbringing. The February 6 birth-date given by some 
writers has no satisfactory explanation. If he was a 
healthy baby, he probably was baptized several days after 
birth, according to custom j but if sickly, he would have 
been rushed to the baptismal font. 

The house he was born in according to Canterbury 
tradition still stands, on the corner of St. George's Street 
and St. George's Lane. a Down the street is the church, 
with its baptismal font still in use. The house, half-tim- 
bered, and dating unquestionably from the age of Eliz- 
abeth, was once replete with carved oaken panels, long 
since torn out. The second story overhangs the lane. 
Over all is a gabled attic. The wills of the Marlowe 
womenfolk reveal it was a house full of little treasuries of 
gold and silver rings, silver tableware, wall hangings, and 
great heaps of sheets and napkins, smocks and petticoats. 

Birthplace badly damaged, church destroyed by enemy action. 

A Pattern for 'Conflict Jf! 

No other male child of the Marlowes lived for long, 
and Christopher's boyhood was spent in a house with four 
sisters, all younger than himself. Jane and Anne married 
shoemakers 5 Dorothy, a vintner, and Margaret a tailor. 
Jane's husband, John Moore, is of further interest to us, 
and will reappear. 


To call Marlowe's father a 'shoemaker 5 with its modern 
connotations is misleading. Two months after the christen- 
ing of his son, John Marlowe became a freeman of the 
city of Canterbury by apprenticeship. Freemen controlled 
trade, since only members of a guild could start a new 
business. This he now did, becoming a member of the 
Brethren of the Assumption of Our Lady, of the Crafts 
and Mysteries of Shoe-Makers, Coriours and Cobbelers 
the shoemakers' guild. 

This was for him the start of a long and prosperous 
career as a Canterbury business man, respectable and re- 
spected in the community} and he begins almost at once 
to appear in court records as a bearer of tidings or testi- 
mony that carried weight. At about the time his son Chris- 
topher was born, he deposed a year later in a libel suit, 
he heard the following derogatory remark about a towns- 
woman from Lawrence Applegate, a tailor: 'I haue hadd 
my pleasure of godlyve Chappmans Daughter.' 

Something of John Marlowe's pious indignation upon 
hearing this can be felt from the rest of his deposition: 
*that diuers tymes syns and in sondrie places the said Law- 

12 The Muses' Darling 

rence Applegate hath most sclanderouslie affirmed the 
foresaid wordes and in repeting and acknoledging the 
same wold say that godwiff Chapman didd owe vnto hym 
the same Lawrence twoo shillinges and quoth he she wold 
nott pay me the said twoo shillings but retayned & kepte 
back the same for that I occupyed godliff hir Daughter 
fower times which was for everie tyme vj pence.' 

Such was life in the cathedral city of Canterbury in the 
spring of 1564. 

While Christopher was growing up and learning to 
read and write, probably in a parochial classroom, his 
father, with apprentices of his own, expanded his busi- 
ness} his family grew larger. At length, in 1573, when 
Christopher was in his tenth year, John Marlowe, seek- 
ing larger quarters, removed from St. George's parish to 
the center of the city. There, in St. Andrew's parish, the 
last of his children was born; and in memory of another 
Marlowe baby briefly in this world he was christened 
Thomas. Like the first Thomas, however, he also died 
young. By the time Christopher was fifteen his father had 
begun to act as a bondsman for couples seeking marriage 
licenses a tribute, perhaps, to his standing as a pros- 
perous business man who was also the son-in-law of a 
churchman. As a matter of fact, John Marlowe himself 
had an odor of sanctity about him, for he became a church- 
warden and died a parish clerk. 

It is not surprising that in the eyes of his family Chris- 
topher was marked for the church. The rule was an old 
one State for gentry, Church for the poor man's son 
poor, that is, in contrast to hereditary riches or hereditary 

A Pattern for Conflict 13 

pride. On January 14, 1579, Christopher Marlowe en- 
tered King's School, Canterbury, on one of fifty scholar- 
ships maintained there for boys between the ages of nine 
and fifteen the years of the treble or boy soprano with 
minds 'apt for learning. 5 One pound, eight shillings and 
four pence was the annual stipend of a King's scholar, to 
which was added an allowance for commons, i.e., food, and 
money for two and a half yards of cloth for a new gown 
every Christmas. This was skimpy, or the boys were kept 
lean in their devotions. 

A few weeks short of being fifteen, Marlowe was just 
under the age limit for admission. Physically and spirit- 
ually the school snuggled close to the cathedral where 
Thomas a Becket fell a martyr. Piety and Latin made up 
the curriculum, and a responsive psalm began and ended 
the day. Belled in his gown, he went punctually to and fro 
from St. Andrew's, past the Rush Market, the Bishop's 
palace, and almost to the city's walls, storing his mind 
with magnificent, medieval images the towers, streets 
and streams of Canterbury5 churches at dusk blazing like 
jewels, and priories and friaries standing watch at the out- 
posts of the city and remembering forever, from the age 
of nine, the pomp and pageantry of Queen Elizabeth's 
progress to Archbishop Parker's abode. 

Left to himself, he might have trod simpler paths tHan 
those he was to follow; but prodded and pushed to the 
magnificent portals of the Ecclesia Anglican^ he at length 


Divinity Student into Poet 


IN DECEMBER, 1580, when he was seventeen years 
old, and perhaps already somewhat alert to the foibles 
of the religious after two years at King's School, Christo- 
pher Marlowe presented himself to the authorities at Cam- 
bridge, holding a nomination to a scholarship in Corpus 
Christi College. It was one of several created by the will 
of Archbishop Parker of Canterbury, who believed in 
helping young men to don the cloth, and who had a pre- 
cise and practical mind to make it feasible: 'Item, I wish 
my Executors to make ready a chamber in that college, 
now called A Storehouse, for three other of my scholars 
to inhabit, for each of which I wish three pounds, six shil- 
lings and eight pence to be given annually in the form 
which my Executors shall prescribe in writing. Of which 
scholars I wish the first to be chosen from Canterbury 
(i.e., King's) School, and to be a native of that place.' 1 

Parker's son, John, made it even more specific when he 
took charge of the will after his father's death (and con- 
tributes, incidentally, some additional strokes to the 
never-to-be-completed portrait of Marlowe) : C A11 which 
said schollers shall and must at the time of their election 
be so entred into the skill of song as that they shall at 


Divinity Student into Poet '1 5 

the first sight solf and sing plaine song. And that they 
shalbe of the best and aptest schollers well instructed in 
their gramer and if it may be such as can make a verse. 5 
There is, unfortunately, no way of telling how Marlowe 
stood up as a singer in meeting these specifications prob- 
ably adequately} but if he did not already know how to 
make a verse, he learned fast. 

Thus a ground floor chamber, previously used for 
storage, became the dwelling place of Marlowe for more 
than a fifth of his life. There he lived six years, gathering 
the slow, somber harvest of disillusionment. 

In 1581, the colleges of Cambridge numbered some 
1,862 students, and salted among them 'an hundred 
preachers at the least, very worthy men,' as a report to 
Parliament stated. Many of the students subsisted on the 
slimmest kind of fare in pursuit of their studies, rising at 
four in the morning, joining in prayers for an hour, then 
plunging into private study or common lectures until 
nightfall, when some of them were 'f ayne to walk or runne 
vp and down half e an houre, to gette a heate on their f eete 
whan they go to bed.' Strictly-enforced regulations pro- 
vided 'that no scholler doe weare any long lockes of Hayre 
uppon his heade, but that he be polled, notted, or 
rounded/ and that 'no scholler shall weare any Barilled 
Hosen' or 'great Ruffs.' In such an atmosphere a young 
man with Marlowe's temperament would be confronted 
almost at once with the disconcerting realization that holy 
orders were not for him. 

Yet, despite the oppressive ecclesiastical atmosphere and 
discipline, Cambridge was a very place 'of nestling green 

1 6 The Muses' Darting 

for Poets made/ and it was the right place for Marlowe, 
An illustrious procession of names great in English litera- 
ture had issued thence } the last, and perhaps the most in- 
spiring, was that of Edmund Spenser, 'the new Poete. 3 It 
was here, too, probably, that Marlowe first made the 
acquaintance of two men whose names are forever asso- 
ciated with his as friend and envious foe of his London 
days: Thomas Nashe, who was in residence from 1582 
to 1586, when he took his B.A., going no further} and 
Robert Greene, who was a B.A. of 1580, an M.A. of 1584, 
and who took an M.A. at Oxford as well, as he liked to 

On library shelves were the materials for Marlowe's 
first and last great dramatic works: the Theatrum Orbis 
Terrarum of the geographer Orteliusj Pedro Mexia's 
Silva da varia lecion y Englished as The Forests by Thomas 
Fortescue, with a bibliography which Marlowe diligently 
pursued in the writing of Tamburl&ine; and Holinshed, 
chief source of Edward II. There were also the classic 
poets j and plays, written and produced by Cambridge stu- 


By the time Nashe and Greene had begun to live the 
lives of struggling authors in the metropolis, Marlowe was 
prepared to speed after them. He galloped by way of 
Westminster and the opulent suburbs. For somewhere 
along the road to being ordained, he attracted attention 
to himself as something more than just another candidate 
for holy orders. Resident at Cambridge while Marlowe 
was a student there was Robert Cecil, son of Lord 
Burghley, the Lord Treasurer of England and Chancellor 

Divinity Student into Poet jy 

of the university. Past this bare linking of their names 
lies the sequel in the half -Protestant, half-Catholic world 
of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth, a sequel of service 
for the state which Burghley helped to reward. It is im- 
possible to tell now how the poet was drawn into the po- 
litico-religious drama of his time. The hunchbacked, in- 
tellectual Cecil, if this is in truth the explanation, would 
have been one to admire Marlowe, robust in word and 

In addition to future statesmen and fledgling poets in 
the anonymous host of apprentice divines, there was pres- 
ent at Cambridge a Puritan of a sharp countenance, Ga- 
briel Harvey, Fellow of Pembroke Hall. 

Harvey, renowned as a rhetorician and orator, was one 
of the notable figures at the university, respectfully 
pointed out to newcomers as the friend of Edmund 
Spenser, now a decade out of Cambridge. It was through 
Harvey's acquaintance with Sir Philip Sidney and the Earl 
of Leicester that Spenser had found preferment, first as 
private secretary to Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton, Eliz- 
abeth's Lord Deputy in Ireland where, amid the cruelty 
and carnage of the Anglo-Irish wars, the murmurous, 
multitudinous stanzas of The Faerie Queene poured 
forth, canto after canto, book after book, to be forever 
talked about and, save by poets, little read 

A man acquainted at court} a classical scholar who stood 
high in the select circles of Cambridge's intellectual and 

;i8 The Muses' Darling 

theological leaders; the friend of a poet whose fame was 
growing; discreet, stern; withal sure of himself, whether 
at cards or discourse in the houses o the local gentry, 
dazzling the womenfolk with his learning when he was 
not charming them with his manners, Harvey went about 
with the air of an Olympian that 

like a looker-on 

Of this worldes stage, doest note with critique pen, 
The sharp dislikes of each condition. 

Thus Spenser characterized his 'singular good frend* 
Harvey, writing to him from Dublin, in a sonnet which 
the schoolman was to publish, out of vanity, just as he had 
previously published a little book of their correspondence: 
Three Proper, and wittie, "familiar Letters: lately passed 
'betvvene two Vniuersitie men: touching the Earthquake in 
Afrill last, and our English refourmed Versifying two 
of his letters to Spenser's one, both full of learned jests at 
which only pedants can smile; one replete with an account 
of what Harvey told his host and hostess and their other 
guests of an evening in April when an earth tremor shook 
the house, question and answer and finally discourse in 
which Harvey took the floor to deliver what he termed a 
'short, but sharpe, and learned Judgement of Earth- 
quakes,' recalling each detail and turn of phrase, for he 
had shone, and his own light still dazzled him; and in 
the other setting forth his opinions about prosody, with 
samples. Like many scholars of the time, Harvey believed 
that English poetry should follow classical prosody, pre- 

Divinity Student into Poet 19 

f erring the hexameter in English a dull measure: tum- 
tee-tee, tum-tee-tee, tum-tee-tee, tum-tee-tee, etc. to 
rhymed lines, and seeking to influence Spenser in that di- 
rection. Spenser's mellifluously cadenced and rhymed 
stanzas were the poet's reply to the pedant. 

Harvey never got over the pleasures of print. Begin- 
ning with these publications, his name linked to Spenser's 
forever, he took up his 'critique pen' whenever an oppor- 
tunity offered. He will show, in the course of this book, 
into what black depths the pen of a scholar and gentleman 
can be dipped. 

Be that as it may, when Marlowe came along at Cam- 
bridge, the contrast between the gentle, unassuming poet 
Harvey had known and the newcomer must have been too 
startling, too disconcerting. Perhaps an explanation lies in 
the fact that Harvey/ as a deputy proctor, had the power 
to punish minor offenses. Marlowe may have collided 
with him. Greene and Nashe may have done likewise. 

Harvey, son of a rope-maker at Saffron Walden, a vil- 
lage near Cambridge, had two brothers John, who be- 
came an astronomer and 'phisition,' and Richard, who left 
Cambridge in 1586, a year before Marlowe, to become 
rector of Chislehurst, in Kent, the parish of Thomas Wal- 
singham, kinsman of Elizabeth's chief councilor. Richard 
Harvey seems also to have met up with the poet, as we 
shall see. 

To Marlowe, apparently, the life of a divinity student, 
with its shilling a week and pleasure shunned, was for a 

2O The Muses 3 Darling 

martyr or a dolt, and he was neither. He had been hur- 
ried past the sun-bright world of men and women into 
the chapel glooms of prayer, the grays of disputation, by 
doting parents, helpful friends, and routine carried him 
along. Native wit made him a tolerable scholar. He was 
also a tolerable resident, even as regards piety in its out- 
ward manifestations, so often violent, for there is no record 
of a dash with any of his roommates. As for his studies 
rhetoric, dialectic, philosophy he was neither at the top 
nor the bottom of the list of candidates for a B.A. 

In the spring of 1584, when he was twenty years old, 
we find him making his swpplicat for the degree of 
Bachelor of Arts, the first great reward for interminable 
prayers, study and lectures: 'Christopher Marlin petitions 
that the twelve completed terms in which he has followed 
the ordinary lectures (even if not wholly according to 
the forms of the statute), together with all the opponen- 
cies, responsions and other exercises required by royal 
statute, may suffice for him to take the examination,' and 
plain 'Marlin' became 'Dominus Marlin. 5 (The phrase in 
parenthesis 'even if not wholly according to the forms 
of the statute 5 occurs in other su^llcats y and is not sig- 

The degree marked progress of a sort, but with it 
came restrictions that must have been irksome. He could 
no longer venture abroad into the pleasant streets of Cam- 
bridge without a gown of 'sad color 5 to his ankles and a 
standing hood, for statute required that the dignity of 
graduates be maintained; and before him lay the somber 
vista of three more years of prayer, study and lectures, 

ivimty Student into Poet 21 

with the additional subjects of perspective, astronomy (in 
which he might have delighted), Greek, and more phi- 
losophy, for his Master of Arts and ordination. Now if his 
heart had been in it, he could have proceeded to make a 
place for himself as a rural religious, assured of a living, 
as his roommates were to do. His heart was not. To add to 
his anguish, he was a poet. What else he was, or appeared 
to be, his enemies, in time, will relate. He read much that 
was not in the curriculum, and occasionally hied himself 
off on business of his own, leaving sizeable gaps in the 
records of his residence. Doubt took the city of his mind. 
Later, in the story of another divinity student who turned 
from the church he put it into words: 

Settle thy studies, Faustus, and beginne 

To sound the deapth of that thou wilt professe: 

Hauing commencde, be a Diuine in shew 

but he himself could not; and doubt joined with cynicism 
as he observed his fellows piously striding toward the pul- 
pit and earthly security, their hands firmly upon two 
worlds, and an aura about them of blandness and belief 
which he did not desire and could not envy. In a weaker 
character, less compact of ardor and intellect, it might have 
been disastrous; in Marlowe it bore bright but sometimes 
bitter fruit: 

I do repent, and yet I do dispaire: 

Hell striues with grace for conquest in my breast, 

What shal I do to shun the snares of death? 

22 The Muses* Darling 

Perhaps these autobiographical lines were conceived, in 
their first form at least, during this period of inner con- 
flict at Cambridge. The passage is steeped in an anguish 
which we can feel even if the emotion was recollected in 

But even before Doctor Faustus the process of evalua- 
tion, of self-probing and self-torture, had gone on his 
years in Cambridge, except for rare periods of creation, 
could not have been happy ones. The production of Tam- 
burlaine followed so fast upon his arrival in London, that 
we may assume that at least a portion of it was conceived 
or written at Corpus Christi, in the storehouse converted 
into an apartment for scholars by Archbishop Parker's be- 
quest. Tamburlaine is strewn with the dead faith and de- 
rision of a divinity student who found Christianity un- 
palatable and repugnant, and who discovered in poetry, 
and indeed in the whole pagan past of the world, spirit- 
ual comfort and inspiration. The ritualistic trappings of a 
religion that was in at the birth and death of every Eng- 
lishman, of a church that governed the souls of men with 
temporal policies and power these he rejected} and he 
rejected them as a writer must, for the whole world to 
mark, in his writing. 

What, then, did he believe? It is too constant in his work 
to be denied in a Supreme Being} or, if this was not so, 
his earliest training had left such an impress on his mind 
that the belief came up unconsciously, itself a form of be- 
lief} for he salutes in heaven the deity of his Biblical 

Divinity Student into Poet 23 

The chiefest God first moouer of that Spheare, 
Enchac'd with thousands euer shining lamps 

the monotheistic God of the Hebrews, 

full of reuenging wrath, 
From whom the thunder and the lightning breaks j 

and reiterates for men's guidance the Old Testament 

That Vertue solely is the sum of glorie. 
Over and over the image of 

The God that sits in heauen, if any Go'd, 
For he is God alone, and none but he, 

and a personal morality caught up from his studies, to be 
confirmed by observation, stand forth in his work. The 
Old Testament is a source book from which he drew 
throughout his career. 

His mind aspired to the firmament 5 its stars and splen- 
dor light up his pages. The doubt which undermined his 
faith turned to a worship of God's world, where 

'Flora in her mornings pride, 
Shaking her siluer freshes in the aire, 
Rain'st on the earth resolued pearle in sliowers 

24 The Muses' Darling 

a world of beauty without the dubious exegesis of men. He 
appears to have undergone a continual struggle to believe, 
but his faith had to contend, at every step, with what he 
saw. His faith faltered. He turned to worship at another 

5Vher Beauty, mother to the Muses sits. 


I see him alone there, in the room that had been a 
storehouse, with the books that he kept hidden from his 
roommates, books that were his own little storehouses of 
delight, his 'infinite riches in a little roome,* as he was to 
write later. 

His life, up to this time, had been for the most part a 
cloistered onej he had breathed, till he had revolted, the 
odor of sanctity 5 but in secret moments and hours he had 
snatched the sweets of poetry from Ovid and Virgil j 
heard, in the still, monastic nights, renown's music rising 
from their pages. Ovid, in particular, was full of stolen 
delights ; exultingly he turns to his translations, already 
for him the auguries of a way of life that offered more 
. than the cold aisles of churches and incantations without 
Let base conceipted witts admire vilde things, 
Faire Phoebus lead me to the Muses springs. 
About my head be quiuering mirtle wound, 
And in sad louers heads let me be found. 

Divinity Student into Poet 25 

(Years later, writing the dedication for a friend's post- 
humous poems, the myrtle of Venus, sown throughout 
Ovid's verses, recurred to him.) It is difficult to believe 
that anyone could ever have adopted a condescending at- 
titude towards Marlowe's translations, but that is the case 
in the pedantic world: 

Now in her tender armes I sweetly bide, 

If euer, now well lies she by my side. 

The aire is cold, and sleepe is sweetest now 

And birdes send forth shrill notes from euery bough. 

In little, Ovid's Amoves reiterated the subject matter 
for a love poem, and Marlowe steeped himself in their 
sensuousness, while developing an idiom of his own: 

Loe I confesse, I am thy captiue I, 

And holde my conquer'd hands for thee to tie. 

And from the Latin poet's ever-recurring image of a 
naked girl by the bedside came, at length, that burst of 
glory that lights the ending of Hero and, Leancler (Mar- 
lowe's ending, of course 5 not Chapman's): 

Thus neere the bed she blushing stood vpright, 
And from her countenance behold ye might 
A kind of twilight breake .... 

This was the beginning to be stirred by the splendor 
of timeless lines and the dignity of great and lonely 

26 The Muses* Darling 

achievement. But Ovid had been full of other matters 
besides young love and the high functions of poetry. Now, 
as Marlowe fumbles through his papers, exulting in 
snatches, he comes upon passages whose thoughts had 
helped to shape his own, which had given form to his 
misgivings, and comforted his loneliness, pent in the 
monastic walls of the university: 

God is a name, no substance, feard in vaine, 
And doth the world in fond belief e deteine. 

The authorities were going after heresy with fire and 
iron, stake and rack. A fellow of Corpus Christi was actu- 
ally burnt at the stake for holding that Christ was not 
God, but would be 'made God after his second resurra- 
tion.' Atheism was equally dangerous, even for the dab- 
bler. But only simpletons got into trouble: 

The gods care we are cald, and men of piety, 
And some there be that thinke we haue a deity. 

Not Ovid3 what of himself? He was never sure 5 faith 
and doubt alternated in his breast, as his own work bears 

Marlowe's renderings from Ovid are not the work of 
a skilled translator. They are not accurate, but they are 
not dull. He has shown them to a select few, and they 
passed from hand to hand as students greeted each other 
solemnly on the quad or in the dim-lit passageways of the 
great halls of learning: 

Divinity Student into Poet 27 

Weake Elegies, delightful Muse farewell; 
A worke, that after my death, heere shall dwell. 

One newly-arrived Corpus Christi student c learnd all 
Mario by heart. 5 He was still in Cambridge when Dr. 
Faustus was produced in London, and full of worshipful 
zeal for Marlowe, or just plain daft, tried to conjure the 
devil, but was confronted instead by irate dons. As for 
Marlowe's translations from Ovid when they were finally 
published, the book containing them was ordered publicly 
burned by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of 

In addition to poetry, he found relief in action. How 
else are we to account for his strange record of attendance, 
or the lack of it, at Corpus Christi? 

Despite the wording of Archbishop Parker's bequest, 
his scholars were paid as were the holders of other scholar- 
ships at Cambridge, that is, one shilling a week while in 
residence. Thus, from the extant college Audits, it is pos- 
sible to tell how long Marlowe was in residence in any 
given term. During the academic year 1584-85, after tak- 
ing his B A., he seems to have been absent more than half 
the time. The audits are missing for 1585-86, but the col- 
lege Buttery accounts show him making purchases of food 
consistently, except for two weeks in November. In 
March, however, he disappears from the Buttery Book, 
and does not reappear until June. For the academic year 

28 The Muses' Darling 

1586-87, the latter his last, he seems to have been present 
for only a part of the first term and part of the second 
nine weeks, and five and a half weeks, respectively, as 
shown by the entries of payments to him. His name is 
omitted altogether for the third and fourth terms, and 
when a new scholar was enrolled for the scholarship Mar- 
lowe held, the poet's name was left out, as though in pun- 
ishment for some offense, although it was customary to 
designate the old with the new holder. 

Marlowe's attendance record is unusual, particularly as 
he was graduated with an MA. although he had to fight 
for it, which is not surprising. Where did he go when he 
was not at Corpus Christi? What did he do? 

Two records provide evidence of his whereabouts on at 
least two of his absences. The first is the Privy Council's 
letter to the university, which memorializes his services to 
the state. The second is somewhat less spectacular. 

During his fortnight's disappearance in the latter half 
of November, 1585, he apparently was in Canterbury, 
where he helped perform a neighborly office. With his 
father, John Marlowe; his brother-in-law John Moore, 
and a Thomas Arthur, perhaps his uncle, Christopher 
Marlowe witnessed a will. As his signature on this will is 
unique, and as the surrounding signatures make it impos- 
sible to doubt its authenticity, the circumstances may prove 
interesting in detail. 2 

The will witnessed by the Marlowes and their kin was 

that of a Catherine Benchkin of St. Michael's parish. The 

will was proved a year later, and John Marlowe was sum- 

.moned to testify concerning it. Under the date October 5, 

Divinity Student into Poet 29 

1586, he recalled that the witnessing took place 'aboute a 
twelmonethes agon/ and then deposed as follows: 'he this 
deponent, beeing requested by John Benchkin to come to 
the howse of his mother Catherine Benchkin scituat in St 
Michaels parishe in Canterburye went thither accom- 
panied with Thomas Arthur his precontest and coming 
thether they fownde there this deponentes Soonne Chris- 
tof er Marley and John Moore, this deponentes Soonne in 
Lawe and Preconteste, and beeing there altogether the 
testatrix Catherine Benchkin towlde them that she had 
sent for them to bee witnesses to her will.' 

Trecontest 5 means a previous witness, for the old 
woman had made an earlier will. When she showed them 
the new will, John Marlowe related, 'this deponentes 
Soonne requested him to reade the same which beeing by 
him soe read the saide testatrix acknowledged the same to 
bee her laste will and testament, and alsoe Caste into the 
ffire one other owlde will which she said she had beefore 
tyme made. 3 The witnesses thereupon subscribed their 
signatures in the following order: 

John Marley 
Thomas Arthur 
Christofer Marley 
John Moore 

It is worth noting that the poet here spells his name 
precisely like his father, who signed himself Marley con- 

Despite the solemnity of the occasion, it is a pleasant, 

The Muse? Darling 

Sermon by the Hour-Glass 

if fleeting, glimpse of Marlowe in the bosom of his fam- 
ily. We get no other. At one end of the city, past St. 
Dunstan's, lay the road to London; at the other, through 
Dover Lane, past the Nunnery, lay the road to Dover, 
only sixteen miles away. We know now that he may have 
used either exit j but this time his absence from Cambridge 
was brief , for two weeks later he was back. 


He prayed and studied, studied and prayed, read the 
classics, and wrote verse. The amount of writing he did at 
Corpus is remarkable, even for that prolific age; for to 
this period, besides his translations of Ovid, must be as- 
signed a line-for-line translation of the first book of 
Lucan's Pharsalia, wherein he switched from rhymed lines 

Divinity Student into Poet 31 

to blank verse, never to return except for the brief and 
beautiful 'Come Live With Me' and Hero and Leander. 
His version of Lucan in blank verse is one of the earliest 
poems in English in that medium. It influenced poets 
from Milton to Wordsworth, for it marks the first weav- 
ing into English poetry of foreign place-names, and a first 
philosophical contemplation of nature, as these lines taken 
at random show: 

As when against pine bearing Ossa's rocks 

Beates Thracian Boreas; or when trees bow downe, 

And rustling swing . . . 


that vncertaine shore, 

Which is nor sea, nor land, but oft times both, 
And changeth as the Ocean ebbes and flowes. 

He gave both Milton and Wordsworth images and 
rhythms ready-made to their hands. 

With Lucan we begin to get a preview of Marlowe's 
later imagery and music, as in this passage (which might 
apply equally to the uncertainties of this atomic age) : 

But Figulus more seene in heauenly mysteries, 

Whose like Aegiptian Memphis neuer had 

For skill in stars, and tune-full planeting, 

In this sort spake: The worlds swift course is lawlesse 

And casuallj all the starres at randome range: 

Or if Fate rule them, Rome thy Cittizens 

32 The Muses 9 Darling 

AJTC neere some plague: what mischief e shall insue? 
Shall townes be swallowed? shall the thickned aire, 
Become intemperate? shall the earth be barraine? 
Shall water be conieal'd and turn'd to ice.? 
Gods what death prepare ye? with what plague 
Meane ye to radge? the death of many men 
Meetes in one period. 

But Lucan was merely preparation for something 
greater. With Lucan out of the way, he turned for the 
first time to drama his medium, blank verse. 

Plays with classical themes had been performed at 
Cambridge, and it was perhaps inevitable that Marlowe 
should try his 'prentice hand on a classical subject. Virgil 
provided the materialj it is almost all Virgil's Aenrid in 
The Tragedie of Dido Queene of Carthage. 

Dido contains, in tentative form, all that delights us in 
Marlowe. The bright images, Eighty' lines and sensuous 
passages of the later plays are here in, as it were, a first 

O here he comes, loue, loue, giue Dido leaue 
To be more modest then her thoughts admit, 
Lest I be made a wonder to the world. 

c Come Live With Me' is foreshadowed; 

He giue thee tackling made of riueld gold, 
Wound on the barkes of odoriferous trees, 
Oares of massie luorie full of holes, 

Divinity Student into Poet 33 

Through which the water shall delight to play: 
Thy Anchors shall be hewed from Christall Rockes, 
Which if thou lose shall shine aboue the waues; 

as is the great scene in Doctor Faustus: 

Not bloudie speares appearing in the ayre^ 

Presage the downfall of my Emperie, 

Nor blazing Commets threatens Didos death, 

It is Aeneas frowne that ends my daies.^ 

If he forsake me not, I neuer dye, 

For in his lookes I see eternitie, 

And heele make me immortall with a kisse. 

** - 
Dido was a storehouse from which Marlowe drew riches 

until he diedj and not only Marlowe. Shakespeare praised 
it in Hamlet's speech to the players as 'an excellent play, 
well digested in the scenes, set down with as much mod- 
esty as cunning.' But c it pleased not the million.' It was 
acted at least once, for the title-page of Dido states that it 
was 'Played by the Children of Her Maiesties Chappell,' 
who, in May, 1587, when Marlowe's degree hung in the 
balance, were performing at Norwich and Ipswich, close 
enough to Cambridge for an aspiring playwright to jour- 
ney thither with his manuscript. Perhaps this accounts for 
one of his absences from the university. 

Two autobiographical passages should be noted. One 
appears to be a gibe at Gabriel Harvey 5 perhaps after a 
first and disagreeable encounter, Harvey made an attempt 
at friendship, which failed; 

34 The Muses 9 Darling 

This was an Orator, and thought by wordes 
To compasse me, but yet he was deceiu'd. 

If, as a result of the rebuff recorded here, some harsh 
things were said, Marlowe answered further: 

Tut, I am simple, without mind to hurt, 
And haue no gall at all to grieue my foes. 

Unfortunately, he changed. 

With Dido out of the way, 8 Marlowe stood on the 
threshold of his greatest achievements} perhaps he now 
began to draft Tamburlaine. 

It is an axiom of the artistic world that no creator ever 
begins without borrowings. That is his homage to the 
master or masters whom he follows. There is, as a rule, 
in his first expression, a strain within a strain, a mingling 
of predecessor and self, that disarms and charms. Occa- 
sionally, it points the way. The artist begins in loneliness, 
but he finds his affinities before long in other artists, and 
he models himself accordingly. Afterwards, it is another 

In Marlowe's case, we are confronted by the exception. 
At the very beginning of his career we see him bringing 
to his work a quality never found before in English verse, 
a breathless and dramatic lyricism that is all but edged 
with flame as we read it for the first time; if we choose an 

Divinity Student into Poet 35 

example from his school-day writings, we see it is already 

Then he vnlockt the Horse, and suddenly 
From out his entrailes, Neoftolemus 
Setting his speare vpon the ground, leapt forth, 
And after him a thousand Grecians more, 
In whose sterne faces shin'd the quenchles fire, 
That after burnt the pride of Asia 

it is Aeneas telling Dido how Troy fell. The iambics 
march inexorably to the end of the line, where they stop 
abruptly it was later that Marlowe developed the run-on 
line and subtler rhythms but his youthful, original qual- 
ity is there for all to markj it is there from first to last. 

Even without the contrast of Marlowe's influence on 
his followers, including Shakespeare especially Shake- 
speare the impact of other writers on him is negligible, 
without trace. Nevertheless, it was his reading that showed 
him the path to follow; but it was only the form, not the 
substance, of what he read that impressed him. 

Four works at Cambridge could have shown him the 
potentialities of blank verse j a fifth, when he reached 
London, confirmed them. In the order of time 

Forty years before, two young men had wrought a 
reformation in English verse by restoring to it some of 
the naturalness it had once possessed. They were the ill- 
fated Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and his friend, Sir 
Thomas Wyatt. Wyatt was the better poet, but Surrey 
has had the more lasting influence indeed, it is a fabulous 

36 The Muses* Darling 

subject, this one of pondering the direction Englisfi poetry 
might have taken had he not, in translating two books of 
the Aeneid y used blank verse instead of rhyme. The 
pedantries of this subject are many and perhaps complex 5 
it may suffice here to say that Surrey's blank verse is either 
the first example of this medium in English, or merely 
one of the first 5 if the latter, his superiority as a poet 
helped it to survive where others, if others there were, 
perished. Aeneas's speech to Dido in Surrey's version of 
Book Two, the fateful dialogue between Aeneas and Dido 
in Book Four, showed the dramatic possibilities of the five- 
foot line unencumbered by rhyming words. 

The first to avail himself of the new medium for dra- 
matic purposes once more I put pedantries aside was 
Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, whose Tragedie of 
F err ex and Porrex was presented, with Queen Elizabeth as 
a spectator, c the xviii. day of Janvarie 1561. by the Gentle- 
men of the Inner Temple. 5 It was Lord Buckhurst who 
carried the death warrant to Mary Queen of Scots at 
Fotheringhay. The Tragedie of Ferrex and Porrex is gen- 
erally believed to have been the first blank verse tragedy 
in English 5 perhaps it was only the first good one. 

The next considerable blank verse play is Jocasta y 
translated and digested into Acte' from the Greek of 
Euripides *by George Gascoygne and Francis Kinwel- 
mershe of Grayes Inne, and there by them presented, 
1566.' The play was reissued in The Pleasawntest Workes 
of George Gascoigne in 1587, the year of Marlowe's ar- 
rival in London. Gascoigne was a good poet, though not 
read now, and it is interesting to note that he was a Cam- 

Divinity Student into Poet 37 

bridge man and that his patron was Arthur, Lord Grey of 
Wilton, the employer and patron of Spenser. In view of 
the charges that were to be brought against Marlowe, it 
is also interesting to see that similar ones had been lodged 
against Gascoigne in 1572: 

'Item he is a defamed person and noted aswell for 
manslaughter as for other greate cryemes. 

'Item he is a common Rymer and a deviser of slaunder- 
ous Pasquelles againste divers personnes of great callinge. 

'Item he is a notorious Ruffiaune and especiallie noted 
to be bothe a Spie, an Atheist and a Godlesse personnel 

We have dealt thus far with gentlemen, more or less, 
and poets, not professional playwrights. In 1584, George 
Peele's Arraignment of Paris was acted before Queen 
Elizabeth by the Children of her Chapel. It was published 
the same year. In it, the old and new forms met a last 

When, finally, Marlowe came to London, he may have 
seen Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedie on the stage it is 
a question whether Tamburlaine or the sensational work 
by Kyd was produced first. 

These were the men, and those the works, that deter- 
mined the course of English dramatic writing and gave 
Shakespeare his medium. The issue might have been in 
doubt before Marlowe arrived on the scene 5 it never was 
afterwards. He found an instrument that had served 
scholarly-minded men, and left it sensitive to the expres- 
sion of the subtlest mind of all. How far the language had 
freed itself, and the vitality he brought to it, can be seen 

38 The Muses? Darling 

by comparing Surrey's .version of a passage from the 
Aeneid with Marlowe's: 

Faithless! forsworn! ne Goddess was thy dam! 
Nor Dardanus beginner of thy race! 
But of hard rocks mount Caucase monstruous 
Bred thee, and teats of Tyger gaue thee suck. 

Thus Surrey; and thus Marlowe: 

Thy mother was no Goddesse periured man, 
Nor Dardawus the author of thy stocke: 
But thou art sprung from Scythian Caucasus, 
And Tygers of Hircania gaue thee sucke. 4 


He must have known by now that he would never be 
ordained j but perhaps he knew the value of an M.A. from 
Cambridge, for authors who might have been sufficiently 
proud of their literary attainments alone did not hesitate 
to set forth their scholastic honors on the title-pages of 
their works. 

On 31 March 1587, after six years at Cambridge, Mar- 
lowe made his final supplicat to the Master and Fellows of 
Corpus: 'Christopher Marley petitions your reverences 
that the nine full terms (after his completing the last) in 
which he has followed the ordinary lectures (even if not 
wholly in accordance with the form of the statute), to- 
gether with all the opponendes, responsions and the other 
exercises required by royal statute, may suffice for him to 
commence in arts.' 

Divinity Student into Poet 39 

He waited confidently for his supplicat to take effect. 
Or perhaps he disappeared again. Whatever it was, the 
dons decided that Marlowe was not a fit person to write 
M.A. from Cambridge after his name. In rage, he turned 
to the Privy Council for assistance. . . . 

In a ground floor chamber in the angle formed by the 
Old Court at Corpus Christi he waited, hearing in his 
mind the beat of a horse's hoofs on the highway. Although 
there were books in the chamber, and not all of them 
were schoolbooks, he cannot beguile the time by reading 
as he harks inwardly to the gallop of a horseman along 
the highway of his thoughts. 

In a whirl of images he saw it all the gowned students 
whispering together j rumor, like the watchman, making 
its rounds. He was sick of their holier-than-thou airs, their 
shuffling, slippered, pious tread j their fulsome obeisance 
and ceremony; their mincing and waddling, thumbs in 
belt, eyes to the pavement or rolling towards the sky, 
embryo divines in the service of a God whose heavens were 
hung with black. He recalled the raised eyebrow, the 
quizzical or treacherous look as he aired unorthodox views 
in sly-earnest debate, making them squirm with his praise 
of papists. How his tongue had wagged! Words spoken 
in jest or gibe took on verisimilitude. He had gone to 
Rheims, said some; he had gone to Rome, said others. 
The lines of a student play epitomized it: 

To Rome or Rhems Fie hye, led on by fate, 
Where I will ende my dayes or mende my state, 

4O The Muses' Darling 

with its barb for sudden conversions. And he saw the out- 
raged dons hearing all, comprehending all, their faces 
drawn and stern. Ireful were the dons, for they were the 
servants of the Lord. 

Suddenly the Privy Council's pleasure is made known 
to them and him 5 in conclave assembled the Master and 
Fellows of Corpus Christi peruse their Lordships' com- 
mandment, and amazement lights up the faces of shriv- 
elled parchment. 

In London in the same year, perhaps at the same time 
(for thus are writers constantly harried), Thomas Lodge 
recklessly ran up a bill for seven pounds with one Richard 
Topping, a tailor of the Strand. Master Topping tried to 
collect his money, making no doubt the usual animad- 
versions touching authors. Then he lost patience and 
brought an action against Lodge, with the result that the 
original sum was increased to twelve pounds, which is 
what happens to debtors who are taken to court, and 
Lodge himself was placed in the Clink. 5 

From start to finish it was different witfi Marlowe. 
There is nothing in his work to indicate that he was ever 
in need of money, or that the world weighed heavily. 
From fifteen to seventeen he had moved in a realm of 
cathedral splendor 5 of rich, rustling colors, bells, and un- 
earthly treble voices blossoming in chapel glooms. It, was 
a realm walled against the clamors of the world, where no 
one hungered and no one worked in the workaday sense 

Divinity Student into Poet 41 

of the word. From seventeen to twenty-three he sojourned 
in Cambridge, for him a similar realm, but with occasional 
glimpses of the world beyond, peopled by men in splendid 
attire, men whose speech was the speech of state and 
power, poetry and scholarship. And just when he himself 
was beginning to have a grasp of scholarship and poetry, 
the forces of power and state snatched him up, offering 
undreamed of rewards. 

But while Marlowe's troubles were always special ones, 
the central thread of the pattern of his life, which was the 
color of violent death, was now unwinding; for it was 
through his first protectors that he met the men in whose 
presence he was cut down six years later at the age of 


'London and Environs, 


A^D tis a prety toy to be a Poet' was a thought to 
savor. For the last time on a July day in 1587 
Marlowe looked about him. Past the turreted clusters of 
college buildings lay the Cambridge countryside, its hot, 
sloping meadows flower-fragrant, the smooth-flowing 
Cam mirroring trees and sky. Musing of the future he 
walked, feeling his elation give way to nostalgia, then 
turned back to make an end. In the chamber that had 
been his home for six years he doffed his gown, tucked it 
into a trunk, donned doublet and hose and feathered hat, 
examined the sword he would strap to his side upon set- 
ting forth, yanked it this way and that to limber up his 
arm, saw how the scabbard must hang for the blade to 
clear. (If he did not then strap on the sword, it was in 
any event soon afterward that he did, for he was shortly 
using it.) 

His effects in order, he stepped quickly across the Old 
Court, past the confines of Corpus and the rambling build- 
ings of the university. His destination was the stable of 
Thomas Hobson, carrier, whose horses were for hire for 
the trip to London. 'Hobson's choice' was already a part 
of the language because of his rule against hiring out 


London and Environs 43 

horses save in their turn, the one that was most rested 
being the one to go. *This or none, 5 Hobson would say. 
To students leaving for London, he added the advice that 
they would get there early enough if they did not ride too 
fast. 1 

At twenty-three it was a light-hearted thing to set out 
for London, and there wasn't a youth in any English shire 
who wouldn't have changed places with Marlowe gladly, 
were it only to be bound apprentice and journeying city* 
ward for a life of labor. But to be twenty-three, and a 
poet, and headed for London! 

From Cambridge Marlowe came, jogging on the great 
northern road that led to Bishopsgate, and saw the outly- 
ing reaches of London Town, thin trickles of houses past 
the city's walls. Something of the country still lingered 
there, and streets paused on the threshold of fields. But 
within the wall it was otherwise} from its seven gates 
there unfolded a maze of streets that shut out the light 
of day and country airs narrow and dirty and ill-smell- 
ing, but bustling with life, loud with people: c in euery 
street, carts and Coaches make such a thundering as if the 
world ranne vpon wheeles: at euerie corner, men, women, 
and children meete in such shoales, that postes are sette 
vp of purpose to strengthen the houses, lest with iustling 
one another they should shoulder them downe. Besides, 
hammers are beating in one place, Tubs hooping in an- 
other, Pots clincking in a third, water-tankards running at 
tilt in a fourth: heere are Porters sweating vnder burdens, 
there Merchants-men bearing bags of money, Chapmen 
(as if they were at Leape-frog) skippe out of one shop 

London and Environs 45 

into another: Tradesmen (as if they were dauncing Galli- 
ards) are lusty at legges and neuer stand still!' 2 To a 
country bumpkin it might have been disheartening, but 
not so to one who saw his destiny there, who carried a col- 
lection of manuscripts that stamped him to himself, and 
would have to anyone versed in such matters, as a poet of 
considerable achievement and even greater promise; who 
came, not as a stranger, cloaked in loneliness, but as one 
sure of a welcome at certain great men's houses. Such was 
the home of Thomas Walsingham in Scadbury, some 
twelve miles from the metropolis. Thither will we post, 
after the sights of London, to meet the kinsman of Eliza- 
beth's Secretary, and with him one or two of his house- 
hold who are to be remembered. 

From east to west, including Westminster, the city 
swirled for four miles, and from north to south, pouring 
over the river into Southwark, two miles. East and west, 
north and south, brimful of music Marlowe made his way, 
looking about him as young men newcome to the city al- 
ways have looked reveling in its sights, stirred by its 
pageantry and multitudinous clamor. He saw the famous 
moated Tower, walled in like a little town. He saw Lon- 
don Bridge, covered over with tenements, loud with the 
cries of hawkers, and at the southern or Surrey end a 
cluster of traitors' heads on poles, a horrible sight, but 
one which even idlers failed to notice. By the riverside he 
heard the watermen's cries of 'Eastward ho!' and c West- 
ward ho!' as they ferried passengers across the busy 
Thames, saw the stately palaces of nobles on the bank, 
their stone stairs lapped by the water, and squat St. Paul's 

4.6 The Muses' Darling 

minus its steeple bulging out of the skyline, and around it 
in every direction the spires of churches hemming the 
cathedral in 119 of them for a city of 100,000 people. 

He saw the ghosts in stone of the great religious houses 
suppressed by Henry VIII. The Greyfriars by Newgate 
had become Christ's Hospital for children} the Priory of 
St. Bartholomew was now St. Bartholomew's Hospital} 
the Priory of Bermondsey lived on as St. Thomas's Hos- 
pital. Others were only ruins, and over their grounds and 
past their massive portals dusk or fog tiptoed quietly. 

The government of the hurly-burly metropolis was 
vested in the Lord Mayor, who was chosen from one of 
the twelve companies or guilds} twenty-six aldermen of 
the wards, and two sheriffs, each of which had his own 
compter or prison, one in the Poultry, the other in Wood 
Street. Under them ranged the menials of the law 
watchmen with their lanterns and bells, constables and 
Serjeants, catchpoles and beadles, the butts of citizens' 
jokes, yet feared withal, and with good reason, for if they 
once clapped hand on shoulder it was difficult to wriggle 
free. Five prisons in the city proper the Cage, Cripple- 
gate, Fleet, Ludgate and Newgate and five across the 
river in Southwark the Clink, Compter, Marshalsea, 
King's Bench and White Lion attested to this with their 
pent-up swarms. More sinister for the malefactor was the 
old saw: London juries hang half and save half. 

Hanging was a spectacle, whether at Tyburn where 
thieves and murderers dangled a while and then were dis- 
emboweled with precise thrusts, or at Execution Dock, be- 
low Wapping Old Stairs, in Limehouse, where pirates 

London and Environs 47 

were trussed up at low tide and the water rose over them. 
There was also Tower Hill, where the ax flashed swiftly 
to the block. For the vagabond there were whipping posts, 
for the beggar, stocks ; and bawds and harlots might be 
seen walking barebacked behind a cart, with a whipping 
at the corners to bring derisive apprentices out of their 
shops to gape. 

Such was the London of the workaday world. At night, 
lanterns jutting out at all angles from ivy-covered walls 
in winding streets threw flickers of weird light as the wind 
rose or fell and mist turned into fog. Overhead, the tall 
houses met and conferred above the middle of the street, 
and many of the streets were mostly in shadow therefore 
dangerous. Rogues trod the deeper darkness close to the 
wall, their eyes peering wild for prey. After a good haul, 
these sly ones, whose business was in the open, made for 
the rendezvous of their giggling doxies j and priggersjof 
prancers and kinching coes, dummerers and jarkmen, 
joined in uproarious tavern merriment with dells. and 
bawdy baskets, queans and other species of hussy. 8 

Taverns! It was a city full of them, and if the"" wind 
but stirred, a legion of painted signs flapped and creaked 
to heaven of good cheer below. From Whitehall to Char- 
ing Cross you might see the White Hart, the Red Lion, 
the Mermaid, the Three Tuns, the Salumion, fa^Grey- 
hound y the Bell, and the Golden Lion. In the very ^ sight 
of Charing Cross stood the Garter, the Crown, the Bear 
and Ragged Staf, an Angel and a King Harry Head. 
Thence, as you wandered toward the heart of the city, you 
might pass another White Hart, the Eagle and Child, the 

^g The Muses? Darling 

Helmet, the Swan, another Bell, another 'King 'Harry 
Head y the Flower de L*uce y an Angel again, the Holy 
Lamby the Bear and Harrow, the Plough y the Ship, the 
Black Belly still another King Harry Head y a Bull Head, 
a Golden Bull, another Flower de Luce y a Red Lion y the 
HornSy White Horsey Princess's ArmSy Belle Savages Inn y 
St. John the Ba$tisty Talboty Ship of War y St. Dunstany 
Hercules (or the Old Man Tavern), a ( Mitre y again a 
King Harry Heady another Three Tuns and the Three 
Cranes inns that called to you whatever your profession, 
that beckoned the soldier and sailor, the courtier stealing 
away from the court, the farmer on a visit from the coun- 
try in Thomas Heywood's rhymed catalogue: 

The Gentry to the Kings Heady 

The Nobles to the Crown y 
The Knights unto the Golden Fleece y 

And to the Ploughy the Clown. 
The Churchman to the Mitre, 

The Shepherd to the Star y 
The Gardener hies him to the Rose 9 

To the Drum the man of war. 

In Cheapside stood a more famous Mitre and a more 
famous Mermaid that inn of wine and wit that was to be 
memorialized by Beaumont. There was a third Mitre in 
Fleet Street, a thoroughfare of side shows and wonders 
from abroad where the gullible parted from their pence 
to stand and gape. In Eastcheap flapped the sign of the 
Boar's Head over one of the chief inns of London. Mark, 

London and Environs 49 

also, the Sign of the Bishop at Gray's Inn Lane's End, in 

But most of all a young writer might love St. Paul's, 
within whose yard and against whose weather-beaten sides 
nestled the shops of stationers and booksellers, with signs 
of their own to mark their establishments c m Paules 
Churchyeard, at the Signe of the Blacke Beare,' or c neere 
the little North doore of Saint Paules Church at the Signe 
of the Gun' the title-pages said. There, anticipation of his 
new life fired his mind 5 he stood in the Cathedral's clang- 
orous purlieus resolving high exploits confident, self- 
assertive, and with a rare talent to mark him from his fel- 
lows. Now it was: 

The sight of London to my exiled eyes, 
Is as Elizium to a new come soule, 

but later, when he had probed it to the depths, he added 
a sullen line to this exclamation: 

Not that I loue the citie or the men. 

Now, however, all was exultation, a will to succeed} free- 
dom was like wine, and Cambridge a fast-fading dream 
of prison. 


North of the city, past Bishopsgate, lay the Liberties of 
Norton Folgate and Shoreditch, suburbs beyond the wall 

50 The Muses* Darling 

where the sheriffs of London durst not go. There, im- 
pecunious actors and authors dwelt side by side, and life 
was not oppressive with conventions. 

From time out of mind plays had been performed in 
the yards of the larger inns the Cross Keys in Grace- 
church Street, the Bull in Bishopsgate Street, the Belle 
Savage on Ludgate Hill. But the city authorities, by their 
own Puritanical leanings and prompted by vociferous 
preachers, harried the players. The old, old cry against 
delight was morality 'the inordynate hauntynge of 
greate multitudes of people, speciallye youthe, to playes, 
enterludes and shewes' for pleasure, which endangered 
their salvation. In addition, the coming of plague brought 
edicts against large gatherings. A way out had to be found 
if the wandering companies of actors were to survive, and 
the times called forth the men. 

The theater has always attracted persons remarkable 
for their eccentricities. Perhaps no more remarkable char- 
acters ever counted the attendance and computed their 
profits than the two men we are about to meet. 

* n J 574j James Burbage, a joiner or carpenter, together 
with four 'servants' of the Earl of Leicester, had obtained 
a royal warrant to perform 'comedies, tragedies, enter- 
ludes and stage playes' subject only to the censorship of 
the Master of the Revels and restrictions 'in time of com- 
mon prayer' and 'great or common plague.' The protec- 
tion of a powerful nobleman was thought a help, but the 
preachers had the last thundering word: 'the cause of 
plagues is sin, if you look to it well: and the cause of sin 
are plays: therefore the cause of plagues are plays.' As 

London and Environs 51 

a result, in 1576 Burbage left the city in quest of free- 
dom and profit. In the Liberty of Shoreditch he found 
what he wanted, cheap land close to the metropolis 5 and 
there, within the precincts of the old, dissolved Holywell 
Priory, he erected in partnership with his brother-in-law 
the first permanent building for theatrical purposes in 
England. It was an innyard without the inn, but circular 
instead of rectangular. He called it The Theatre there 
was no other. 

When the venture proved profitable, another theater 
followed Burbage's close by. It was called the Curtain. 

The troubles of Master Burbage were not over, for the 
preachers went on thundering against plays and players, 
and pestilence closed the playhouses. But The Theatre 
flourished, and with it the family fortunes. Shoreditch was 
close enough to the city for a host to come trooping out 
when a performance was given, and the Curtain proved 
to be an additional lure. His son, Richard, acted at The 
Theatre and eventually became the star of Shakespeare's 

Re-entering London through Bishopsgate, you went 
down Bishopsgate Street, thence through Eastcheap, and 
so to the river and London Bridge. Across the river in 
Southwark, in the Liberty of the Clink, there lived one 
Philip Henslowe, a man with a restless and acquisitive dis- 
position, versatile at turning all things that came his way 
to a profit. Even in marriage thought of aggrandizement 
must have been uppermost, for he took for his wife the 
well-to-do widow of his former employer. Nominally a 

52 The Muses' Darling 

dyer Shakespeare's mth Sonnet may contain a refer- 
ence to him 

my nature is subdu'd 
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand 

Henslowe found time from his trade for a number of 
profitable ventures management of a bear-baiting house, 
pawnbroking, rental of tenements, and collector of rents 
from brothels for the Bishop of Winchester, whose palace 
stood by the riverside j hence the term c Winchester geese' 
for prostitutes, and Gloucester's salutation to the Bishop 
himself: ' Winchester goose!' in Henry VI. 

Casting about for a further source of revenue, Henslowe 
hit upon the idea of building a theater in Southwark. As 
this involved a considerable expenditure, in 1587 he went 
into partnership with John Cholmley of London, grocer. 
Under the terms of the partnership, Cholmley agreed to 
pay Henslowe 816 pounds, in quarterly instalments of 25 
pounds, 10 shillings, over a period of eight and a quarter 
years, receiving in return half the receipts and continued 
occupation of a small house near the property to be erected. 
Thus Henslowe secured for himself receipts of 102 
pounds a year, for which insurance he was willing to 
forego half the profits of his theater for the length of the 
partnership. It was a shrewd piece of business, entirely in 
his favor while the profits of the joint venture were under 
204 pounds a year, and when they were over that sum he 
received half the profits plus 102 pounds. 

The building erected on this financial foundation was 

"London and, Environs 53 

the Rose theater. 4 One of the actors of Henslowe's ac- 
quaintance was Edward Alleyn, who became his son-in- 
law, his partner and the creator of Tamburlaine, Faustus, 
Barabas and other Mario vian roles 5 and the founder of 
Dulwich College some say because of a vow when the 
devil appeared on the stage during a performance of Dr. 

If you followed the looping Thames eastward from 
Southwark, past the Surrey end of London Bridge, you 
came to a little village called Deptford. There lay the 
Golden Hind, the first English ship to voyage around 
the world} on its deck, in 1581, Elizabeth had knighted 
its commander, Francis Drake. The ceremony was long 
since over, but the ship stayed, a floating inn, until time 
and souvenir hunters picked it to pieces. It was the show 
place of Deptford, itself so tiny a place that on pictorial 
maps of the time the steepled Church of St. Nicholas suf- 
ficed to represent it. There was a tavern there, too, but 
of this later. 

Past Deptford, stemming from Thames' side, flowed 
the Ravensbourne river, and there were country roads, 
meadows and woods. When London was infested with 
plague, as it was like to be in the spring of the year, Dept- 
ford was a pleasant place to pass the time. We will return 
to it on a May day six years laterj for the present mark, 
if you will, the church with its quiet fold of graves, the 
church and the tavern. 


Glimpse of a Slayer 


A DOZEN miles from London, in a southeasterly di- 
rection, stood the village of Chislehurst with its 
church and steeple, the Reverend Richard Harvey, rector. 
Scadbury Manor was also in Harvey's parish, and there 
lived Thomas Walsingham and his wife Audrey, 

We do not know when and how Thomas Walsingham 
and the poet met. We know that he 'bestowed many kind 
fauors' on Marlowe 'in his life time' (an inference of 
patronage which we get from the dedication of Hero and, 
Leander)^ and that it was a member of his household 
who killed Marlowe. We also know that welcome at his 
table was a friend of Marlowe's older, proud, and a 
master of the jest that thrusts like a rapier. He is Thomas 
Watson, Latinist and poet, a man full of flourishes, who 
cannot write a sonnet without prefixing a paragraph, like 
a poetical exegetist, placing a nosegay in prose above the 
flowers of his verse, so that the odor of his learning is 
twice-distilled 5 and he signs himself, on the title-pages 
of his Latin works, 'Thomas Watsonus, I.V., studiosus' 
that is, student of either law, canon and civil, for he had 
studied both. He comes dressed in the finery of the 
Italianate Englishman fa favorite howl of the preachers) j 


Glimpse of a Slayer 55 

but he is scholarly, learned, broadly read, a traveler and 
erst a sojourner on the Continent in short, a man of the 
world, one who had spent his time at Oxford, like Mar- 
lowe at Cambridge, 'not in logic and philosophy, as he 
ought to have done; but in the smooth and pleasant studies 
of poetry and romance.' 1 

Watson's friendship with Thomas Walsingham was o 
long standing. It began in Paris, during Sir Francis Wal- 
singham's tenure as ambassador. 

Watson is also Marlowe's particular friend. Shortly 
their lives will be inextricably linked in Newgate dossiers. 
Marlowe survived their perilous relationship} the three 
men who follow cut his survival short. 

Deep in the politico-religious intrigue that brought 
Mary Stuart to the block and, as one of its manifestations, 
took Marlowe from Cambridge to Rheims c in matters 
touching the benefitt of his Countrie' was one Robert 
Poley, Privy Council spy. So skillfully did Poley weave 
himself back and forth, ostensibly in the pay of Secretary 
Walsingham to spy on the Catholic conspirators, but tak- 
ing his reward from two sources, that none can say where 
his allegiance lay. It was not for nothing that Poley said 
of himself: <I will sweare and forsweare my selffe rather 
then I will accuse my selffe to doe me any harme.' It had 
been Thomas Walsingham's task to interrogate him as the 
Babington plot blazed forth brightly and then the gov- 

56 The Muses* Darling 

ernment struck, quenching the flame and snuffing out the 
lives of the plotters. 

That Poley should have been welcome at Scadbury is 
perhaps not surprising in that age of conspiracy 5 and 
thither the spy and complotter went, to entreat further 
service or reward, and to continue his friendship with one 
who was employed there, Ingram Frizer, the Walsing- 
hams' 'man,' privy to his master's and mistress's affairs, 
the agent and overseer of their household a prototype 
of Elizabethan servant and rogue who, as Marlowe ob- 
served, to 'get you any fauour with great men' 

must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute, 
AnH now and then, stab as occasion serues. 

Among Frizer's recent purchases was a dagger of steel 
costing twelve pence. 

Frizer had a hanger-on named Nicholas Skeres, de- 
scribed in a Middlesex dossier of 1585 as one of a number 
of c maisterles men & cut-purses, whose practice is to robbe 
Gentlemen's chambers and Artificers' shoppes in & about 

Such men as these, besides poets, hovered about the 
house in Scadbury. We will meet this trio again and 
with them Marlowe in the tavern in Deptford in 1593. 


Marlowe and Shakespeare 


THE year 1587 was a time of marching men and far- 
flung stirrings against the order of things. The Duke 
of Parma's soldiery harried the Low Countries for an 
inquisitorial God. In Ireland, Elizabeth's Lord Deputy 
donned armor over his soul, burning and pillaging to 
bring an oppressed folk into submission 5 only the gallows 
had a yield where his soldiers passed. In Spain the Armada 
was buildingj the din of its multitudinous labors blew 
loud into England. 

Who with these facts in view can doubt that that part 
of the poetic process which deals with the selection of sub- 
ject matter is less of a mystery than scholars have sup- 
posed? To Marlowe, newcome to London to commence 
writing, fresh from his Privy Council mission and his tri- 
umph over the Cambridge dons, his mind full of images 
of ruthless powers at work and stored to the brim with the 
treasure of his reading, only the clanking march of men- 
at-arms, there or abroad, might be the catalyst. The rest 
is labor long, arduous, but no mystery. 

He unpacks his belongings, his dog-eared books emerge 
from trunk's depth, and he spreads fair paper on a table, 
places inkhorn and goose quill at hand, and bends over in 


58 The Muses' Darling 

his chair to chart his course, the mariner of his fate; but 
whether in Shoreditch, where stood the two playhouses, 
The Theatre and Curtain, or in the Liberty of Norton 
Folgate, adjacent to Shoreditch, where likewise good com- 
pany was to be found, there is no way of telling, for he 
wasn't in trouble at this time, and there is therefore no 
trace of him. But while, for the present, his legal dossier 
remains without addition, he is himself writing his own 
chief record for after-men, his work. 

Beginning at Corpus Christi, a succession of ponderous 
volumes had brought to maturity in his thoughts the con- 
quering figure of Tamburlaine the Great among them 
Pedro Mexia and the authors in his bibliography: 'This 
then that I here geue you, that al haue I borrowed of 
Baptista Fulgotius y Pope Pius y Platina vppon the life of 
Boniface the ninth, of Mathew Palmier y and of CambimtrS 
a Florentine, writyng the historie, and exploytes of the 
Turkes; 5 Paulus Jovius, Petrus Perondinus dead names 
of once living and learned men, one a bishop, one, even, 
a Pope. 

The East blazed witfi glory in men's imaginations; 
their books and their table talk brought tidings little less 
opulent than the goods in their ships' holds. Now, before 
him on the table, in the fabulous maps of Ortelius, sprawl 
the continents of Asia and Africa on these he has gazed 
until the music and magnificence of their place-names are 
steeped in his mind. Not for him the couplets of his con- 
temporaries, the smooth song of seasons or of love, the 
lines ending on the inevitable chime or jingle although 
here and there admirable of their kind and inspiring. In- 


the Greac. 

became a mod puiflane andxmgn~ 
tye IVJonarquc. 

And far,his tyranny, antf terrouclo 
Warre^was tearmed^ 


courfe? 5 as tfaey were fundrie times 


Sum jjalt, |}t0 fmtantes* 

j an3 aewlie pot 


I. O M r> O N. 

Richard Iboncstatt^e 
of the Role an'd Cro wnc nccr.c Hol 
borne Bridge^ J 5 p p* 

60 The Muses* Darling 

stead, with contempt for the usual forms and the writers 
who observed them, he begins thus: 

From iygging vaines of riming mother wits, 
And such conceits as clownage kee$es in pay, 
Weele lead you to the stately tent of War, 
Where you shall heare the Scythian Tamburlaine 
Threatning the world with high astounding tearmes. 

Exultation rings the deep bell of his being. Like comb- 
ers making toward the land, treading the offshore deeps 
with flashing, rhythmic thunder, the music of his march- 
ing iambics surges forward, thundering harmony to the 
shores of consciousness. Deftly, wasting few lines, for he 
has learned the lesson of plot and counterplot, he sketches 
the weak, wavering Mycetes, King of Persia, and his ag- 
gressive brother, Cosroe, whom the revolting nobles of 
the realm acclaim 

Emperour of Asia, and of Persea, 

Great Lord of Medea and Armenia: 

Duke of Africa and Albania, 

Mesopotamia and of Parthia, 

East India and the late discouered Isles, 

Chiefe Lord of all the wide vast Euxine sea, 

And of the euer raging Caspian Lake. 1 

This is already, albeit in little, the aspiring protagonist 
of Marlowe's mind} but Tamburlaine dwarfs Cosroe (as 
all Marlowe's chief characters dwarf the casts they head) : 

Marlowe and Shakespeare 61 

His looks do menace heauen and dare the Gods. 

And it is the beginning of the Marlovian beat that 
shortly will rise into such freedom and such music as the 
theater and poetry had never known, the melodic measure 
that is without equal in English blank verse: 

Your Maiestie shall shortly haue your wish, 
And ride in triumph through Persepolis. 

And ride in triumph through Persepolis? 
Is it not braue to be a King, Techettes? 
Vsumcasane and Thendamas y 
Is it not passing braue to be a King, 
And ride in triumph through Perse$olis? 

O my Lord, tis sweet and full of pompe. 

He has but begun to bring up, from the rich mines of 
his mind, the treasure heaped there 5 yet not all the kings 
in Tamburlaine speak with splendor, and one utters the 
thought of modern man: 

Accurst be he that first inuented war. 


This is the lost time of Marlowe's apprenticeship to the 
theater, and not too much may be hazarded. However 

There was present in London at this time a young man 
two months his junior who, like himself, had recently 
embarked on a career of his own in the theatrical quarters 

62 The Muses' Darling 

of the metropolis. He was not a university man, and he 
began more like a plodder than a poet, but he was versa- 
tile, able to write or correct a line, and speak it, too; and 
therefore useful around a theater. 

When Marlowe had finished his play, he put the manu- 
script under his arm and set out to get it produced. The 
title-page of the first edition states that it was c sundrie 
times shewed vpon Stages in the Citie of London' c By the 
right honorable the Lord Admyrall, his seruantes.' As 
the Admiral's men acted in the great innyards of the city 
as well as at The Theater and Rose, there is now no way 
of telling where Marlowe's opus was first presented. Was 
it Burbage that he interviewed at the Theatre in Shore- 
ditch, or was it Henslowe at the Rose in Southwark? Was 
it in Shoreditch or Southwark that he met, one day, the 
youth from Stratford, Will Shakespeare, and saw for the 
first time the high, intellectual brow, the deep, calm eyes, 
the sensitive nose and the mouth shaped to wisdom, of 
him whom unborn generations were to know by portrait 
and book? That they met, that they afterwards collabo- 
rated, is certain; the work that bears Shakespeare's name 
and which is, in part, Marlowe's, testifies to this, as do the 
fond remembrances of the surviving poet when the fiery 
young man from Cambridge was dead. 2 

There was a contrast here the one discreet, quiet- 
spoken, seeking to please, and as yet known but to few 
the other, impulsive, reckless, the spendthrift of his 
genius, already befriended by the great; one, looking with 
grave eyes upon the world of men about him, already 
noting and comprehending all, but nursing his great 

Marlowe and Shakespeare 63 

powers against maturity the other, pouring forth at the 
start his mind's riches, and accepting fame, when it came 
suddenly, as his due. Between such opposites Shake- 
speare, the mature youth, and Marlowe there could have 
been no envy. There is evidence of friendship. 

Fame came suddenly to Marlowe, via Tambtcrlaine. 
The success scored by his play is attested, in the absence 
of other records, first, by the imitations that were rushed 
to the stage, and, second, by the numerous allusions to it 
in the writings of his contemporaries and successors. 8 Of 
the men from whom he had learned much, though taking 
little, Buckhurst still lived in the service of the state, not 
the theater} Gascoigne was dead} and Peele evened the 
score if score there was by writing several plays in 
Marlovian rhythms Edward 7, The Battle of Alcazar, 
David and Bethsabe* Robert Greene, by this time one of 
the London luminaries, was outwardly contemptuous; 
nevertheless, he wrote Alphonsus King of Aragon in di- 
rect imitation of Tamburlaine y just as he was to write 
Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay in imitation of Faustus. 
Collaborating with Thomas Lodge in A Looking Glasse 
for London and England, Greene again fell under the 
sway of the newcomer he pretended to despise, and his fel- 
low-writer with him. 

To a theater overhung with the pall of pedantry, Mar- 
lowe brought life and light} to men like Shakespeare, new 
impetus and inspiration. Writers writhing at his success 


64 The Muses' Darling 

might attack his 'high astounding tearms,' but London's 
audiences wanted more. They got it. 

It was not only the immediate popularity of the First 
Part of Tamburlaine that made Marlowe eager to pen a 
sequel and the Admiral's men to present it: 

The generall welcomes Tamburlain receiu'd, 
When he arrived, last vfon our stage y 
Hath made our Poet fen his second fart. 

The year 1587 marked the beginning of the critical 
phase in Elizabeth's relations with her erstwhile brother- 
in-law Philip. Then Drake's guns pounded the Spanish 
coast to stave off the peril of the Armada for another year, 
and once more the issue remained unresolved. It was like 
Europe before 1914 and 1939: tension and incidents. 
When war came, it came to many as a relief. 

It came undeclared, but the nation was ready. Great 
stores of ammunition had been gathered, and the shires of 
England rang to the clatter of drilling yeomanry. The 
battlefields of the Low Countries had been for decades a 
Continental academy for her soldiers. The ships that were 
her floating defense had been refurbished and rearmed. 
It was Henry VIII who created England's naval power, 
and it was fitting that his daughter should prove it. 

On July 19, 1588, watchers on the shore beheld the 
floating city of the Invincible Armada, carack and galleon, 
galley and pinnace, walloping the water in a vast array, 
their myriad banners staining the Channel air, their sides 
studded with guns, their decks thickly clustered by knights 

Marlowe and Shakespeare 65 

and soldiers. When, after wind, water and fire, and the 
English valor, had beaten them off and scattered their 
remnants as far as the coast of Ireland, England's exulta- 
tion blazed forth: bonfires in the streets, beacon fires on 
the hills, prayers in crowded churches, and the clangor of 
pealing church bells over all. 4 

Reader, reading the words of the preacher at Paul's 
Cross, August 20, at the first public service of thanksgiv- 
ing, how did the fourth decade of the twentieth century 
differ for England and, indeed, the world? 'They com- 
muned of peace, and prepared for most cruel warre: for 
they thinke that no faith nor trueth is to be kept with vs, 
but that they may f eine dissemble, breake promise, sweare, 
and forsweare, so they may deceiue vs> and take vs vn- 
wares, and oppress vs sodainely.' 

Then it was the Spaniard and salvation, latterly the 
German and a new doctrine. Then: c The Lord arose, and 
took the cause (which indeede was his owne) into his owne 
hands, and fought against them, that fought against vs.' 5 

Of the multitude that heard these words, it is unlikely 
that Marlowe made one. It was not his wont to favor 
preachers with attention, and he had a task to do. 

Once more he has turned to his books; but now he 
Can only glean where earlier he had reaped. The maps of 
Ortelius are still his guide to the Asia and Africa over- 
run by Tamburlaine's victorious armies ; but an incident 
in the Rervm Vngaricarvm Decades Qvattvor of An- 

66 The Muses' Darling 

tonius Bonfinius leads him to start his sequel in southeast- 
ern Europe. It is not essential to the plot, but it appealed 
to Marlowe for another reason. 

The incident deals with the truce between the Turkish 
potentate Amurath II and Vladislaus of Poland and Hun- 
gary, one of the kings of the Christian league. Their truce 
permitted the infidel monarch to withdraw his troops from 
Turkish Europe, he having murderous business elsewhere. 
It was sworn to in the name of Christ and Mahomet, but 
was nevertheless denounced by the papal legate, Cardinal 
Julian, who urged the immediate invasion of Amurath's 
undefended provinces: 'Against a perfidious enemy the 
use of every art, power and stratagem is permissible $ art is 
eluded by art, stratagem is to be circumvented by strata- 
gem,' were his words, and, calling the Christian kings to 
holy war, he absolved them in the name of the Pope, with 
the assurance that 'nothing will be more pleasing to Christ 
all-good and all-powerful, or more honorable to your- 
selves.' The lay mind can only react like Marlowe's 

Can there be such" deceit in Christians? 

At Varna on the Black Sea, whither he marched in 
wrath, the Turk met the perfidious Christians and de- 
feated them after calling on Christ to avenge the wrong 
done to his name. The battle took place in 1444; Mar- 
lowe pushed back the date half a century to Tamburlaine's 
time, making Sigismund of Hungary the Christian leader 
who broke faith with the infidel, and Orcanes, King of 

Marlowe and Shakespeare 67 

Natolia, his adversary and these are the men as the issue 
is decided: 

Sig. Discomfited is all the Christian hoste, 

And God hath thundered vengeance from on high, 

For my accurst and hatefull periurie. 

Ore. Now lie the Christians bathing in their bloods, 
And Christ or Mahomet hath bene my friend. 

But a fellow monarch blurts out (in Marlovian tones) : 

Tis but the fortune of the wars my Lord, 
Whose power is often proou'd a myracle. 

With this as prelude, Marlowe's anticlerical bias, 
whetted at King's School, sharpened at Corpus Christi, 
breaks forth in marshaled, derisive thrusts against religion 
and its servitors although not yet his countrymen's, 
which had its advantages 5 and long before the coming of 
the Nazis he saw the spectacular element in the burning 
of books to make the foolish gape, letting Tamburlaine 
dare Mahomet out of heaven to save his holy writ, which 
the fire consumes. If some of his contemporaries began 
early to call him an atheist, it could not have been unex- 
pected, although he must have thought them dolts con- 
sidering the other wares he had to offer. 

'68 The Muse? Darling 

Let us glance a moment at some of his wares there 
will be enough and to spare of the other thing before his 
story ends. In the Second Part of Tamburlaine they ap- 
pear early and in profusion, and they remain so up to the 

The Grecian virgins shall attend on thee, 
Skilful in musicke and in amorous laies: 
As faire as was Pigmalions luory gyrle, 
Or louely lo metamorphosed. 

There is an echo from Ovid here, but the pupil has left 
the house of his master j and an echo of lost orthodoxy: 

Now walk the angels on the walles of heauen, 
As Centinels to warne th' immortall soules, 
To entertaine deuine Zenocrate. 

The Cherubins and holy Seraphins 
That sing and play before the king of kings, 
Vse all their voices and their instruments 
To entertaine diuine Zenocrate. 

At twenty-four we find him rehearsing the great scene 
of his greatest work, prefiguring at the conclusion of the 
long, lyric elegy of undying love delivered by Tambur- 
laine the appearance of Helen before Faustus: 

Marlowe and Shakespeare 6$ 

Now are those Spheares where Cupd, vsde to sit, 
Wounding the world with woonder and with loue, 
Sadly supplied with pale and ghastly death: 
Whose darts do pierce the Center of my soule. 
Her sacred beauty hath enchaunted heauen, 
And had she liu'd before the siege of Troy y 
Hellen y whose beauty sommond Greece to armes, 
And drew a thousand ships to Tenedos, 
Had not bene nam'd in Homers Iliads j 

while in the conqueror's rage at the gods for the deathi 
of his beloved there is an overtone of Marlowe's own de- 
fiance, the play's final thunder and orchestration of: 

Come let vs march against the powers of heauen, 
And set blacke streamers in the firmament, 
To signifie the slaughter of the Gods, 6 

To dying Tamburlaine 'one brings a Map' Marlowe's 
Ortelius and the Scythian reviews the long line of his 
victories, the resounding place-names tumbling like boul- 
ders into the meadows of his marches. His farewell to his 
sons and his chieftains is one long regret that he must leave 
territories yet unconqueredj and in the pause of the dying 
fall of the versification we sense the intellectual Mar- 
lowe's awareness of the vast, unexplored world of his 

the golden Mines, 

Inestimable drugs and precious stones, 
More worth than Asia, and the world beside, 

70 The Muses* Darting 

And from th' Antartique Pole, Eastward behold 
As much more land which neuer was descried. 

The age he lived in was one of enterprise and adventure 
with which his restless being was in tune. But Marlowe 
was aware that strenuous living and fabulous pursuits, for 
honor and for gold, were not all. The man who could 

Our soules, whose faculties can comprehend 
The wondrous Architecture of the world: 
And measure euery wandring plannets course, 
Still climing after knowledge infinite, 
And alwaies moouing as the restless Spheares, 

stands close to our time. His work is full of the imagery 
.of a new day of exploration and discovery in the realms 
of knowledge as well as of colonization, of Bacon as well 
as Raleigh. It is an imagery which he helped to shape, 
and it sheds its light on the pages of the greatest Eliz- 
abethans, the light of 'unpath'd waters, undream'd 
shores.' He came, 

rich in fit epithets, 
Blest in the louely marriage of pure words, 

creating at the start of his career the prototype of a new 
breed of stagemen, cruel and aspiring, but filled with im- 
mortal longings which are his own all losers in the end, 
but after what magnificent flights of power! The first is 

Marlowe and Shakespeare 71 

Of stature tall, and straightly fashioned, 
; Like his desire, lift vpwards and diuine, 

who speaks with the speculative mind of his creator, voic- 
ing for him, amid the shock of war, Marlowe's hymn to 

Emperor As Footstool To 

beauty, a gathering harmony climaxed in the passage 
which has been perhaps too much praised, that marvel- 
ously melodic definition of beauty that fails to define or 
to satisfy (except the puerile) 

If all the pens that euer poets held, etc. 

72 The Muses' Darling 

He brought to the new-born theater the element that 
quickened it into life & youthful poetry of rhythms never 
before seen in print or heard on the stage. It was profuse 
and exuberant, and sometimes it spilled over into a stage 

Alarums within. The Duke loyeux slaine. 
Enter the King of Nauarre and his traine; 

for his work is the work of one forever young and scornful 
of the pedantic mind that studies a medium to perfection 
but lacks poetry to light up its depths or sound music to 
pierce the soul. It is a pageant of tall figures against a 
silverfall of riches, the marriage of brightness with 
brightness, music with music 5 and Marlowe unashamedly 
exults and probes in the midst of puppets, however large 
for it is not the business of a young poet to be a de- 
lineator of characters striding into life. 

He is the true Elizabethan, voyaging on strange seas 
to mine the mines of beauty. And he is lost to us, lost in 
the corridors of the years, as one is lost who, turning his 
back in a corridor of mirrors before we have seen his face, 
is lost to sight, then reappears to stride silently in the 
deeps of glass, an image that recedes, yet in a fixed mo- 
ment is forever there, so that we seem to hear, along the 
passageway, the fading footfall. 

The face of this man is lost to us as a face is lost in the 
crowd and jostle of a city street; another step, another 
look, and the glimpse of strength or beauty may be ours 
splendor under the brim, the passionate glance; but we 

Marlowe and Shakes-peart 73 

cannot take that step, the look is not granted us 5 time takes 
the street from the striders in it, the minutes o time fall 
like rain on London streets, obliterating time and the 
dwellers in Elizabethan time 5 but in the cool depths of 
the past, his image glows as in a mirror 5 look now it is 
the fixed moment: the passionate face where c shin'd the 
quenchles fire' is there. 


First Salvos Against Marlowe 


IN HIS HOUSE in Shoreditcli, another Cambridge 
Master of Arts heard the applause that rang in a new 
rival, and he stroked his red beard to a point, feeling the 
old soul-sickness of envy. 

He is Robert Greene, a madcap fellow, with a fine strain 
of poetry in him, and a fine streak of malice. He is an 
established author with a thin purse, to be sure 5 but 
never, until now, one to question his shortcomings. His 
books can fill a shelf, for he is an old hand at the writing 
game, and novels, pamphlets and poems have issued from 
his pen in profusion. In the theater, too, his score is a high 
one5 but his reputation, for all that is unsavory: c Who in 
London hath not heard of his dissolute, and licentious 
liuing; his fonde disguisinge of a Master of Arte with 
ruffianly haire, vnseemely apparell, and more vnseeme- 
lye Company' 'his continuall shifting of lodginges' . 

Thus runs, in part, the catalogue of his sins, chief of 
which is a shortage of money, and what killed him in the 
end, besides palpable disease, was a consumption of the 
purse. London meant good pickings for a time 5 uncertain, 
sporadic, the rack of morale j forced, frantic trips to pawn- 
brokers and play-brokers, or sweaty bargainings with the 


First Salvos 'Against Marlowe 75 

crabbed booksellers of St. Paul's; but times are changing, 
and he sees two young men at the van of a swarm invading 
those precincts where he has held sway, bearing under 
their arms new plots and manifestoes. The words of Mar- 
lowe's prologue rankle: 'From iygging vaines of riming 
mother wits . . . .' He has rather fancied his smooth 
couplets who has not liked them? He reaches for his 
new manuscript Perimedes the Blacke-smith to insert 
a double blast loosed in the general direction of the up- 
starts* camp, lumping Marlowe and the other newcomer 
derisively together at the start, as he will do again in a 
final, bitter onslaught after life and hope have fled. His 
medium is the address 'To the gentlemen readers': *I 
keepe my old course, to palter vp some thing in Prose, 
vsing mine old poesie still, Omne tulit ^punctum^ although 
latelye two Gentlemen Poets, made two mad men of 
Rome beate it out of their paper bucklers: & had it in de- 
rision, for that I could not make my verses iet vpon the 
stage in tragical! buskins, euerie worde filling the mouth 
like the faburden of Bo-Bell, daring God out of heauen 
with that Atheist Tamburlan.' 

He reads over each word with a hawk eye, satisfied they 
will set up a loud buzzing. 

Of the first part of this mysterious palaver, what is to 
be made? One of the men he alludes to is undoubtedly 
Marlowej is the other Shakespeare, and is the play he 
scoffs at, besides Tamburlame y The Tragedie of Titus An- 
dronicus y and did these two geniuses collaborate thus 
early in their careers, as they were to do later? 

The mood wears off as Greene's miserable surroundings 

76 The Muses' Darling 

come into focus again and the hag Poverty has him by the 
shoulder with a bony grip. But once more echoes of Mar- 
lowe's lines make distant thunder in his brain, and his 
fury, rigged out in scorn, stalks forth} 'but let me rather 
openly pocket vp the Asse at Diogenes hand: then wan- 
tonly set out such impious instances of intolerable poetrie: 
such mad and scoffing poets, that haue propheticall spirits 
as bred of Merlins race.' * 

A tavern signboard and the Cambridge variant of Mar- 
lowe's name offer the opportunity for derision and a pun, 
to make Greene stroke his beard in satisfaction. It is an 
old trick in word-combat argumentum ad hominem. His 
anger subsides, and he resumes patronizingly, mixing in a 
little mystery to soften the hard edges of his conceit: 'If 
there be anye in England that set the end of scollarisme in 
an English blanck verse, I thinke either it is the humor of 
a nouice that tickles them with self-loue, or to much fre- 
quenting the hot house (to vse the Germaine prouerbe) 
hath swet out all the greatest part of their wits, which wasts 
Gradatim, as the Italians say Poco a poco. If I speake 
darkely Gentlemen, and offend with this digression, I 
craue pardon, in that I but answere in print, what they 
haue offered on the Stage.' 

He winds up ingenuously, if not with complete frank- 
ness which is something. His reference to the sweat cure 
is ironic, however, for he died of syphilis. How bitter it 
must have been, after this attack, to find himself forced to 
imitate the novice's blank verse in order to get by at all! 
But that is what happened. 

First Salvos Against Marlowe 77 

These things he talks over with Thomas Nashe, an- 
other of the young men, but different, one who knows his 
place, which is that of disciple. Nashe, late a Bachelor of 
Arts of St. John's College, had known Marlowe at Cam- 
bridge, but zeal for the master makes him eloquent against 
his schoolmate. Perhaps their early familiarity helped it 
nearly always does. For the present he lacks a vehicle in 
which to send his invective spluttering in print, for he is 
a genius at it. This lack is shortly supplied by Greene *In 
a night & a day would he haue yarkt vp a Pamphlet as 
well as in seauen yeare, and glad was that Printer that 
might bee so blest to pay him deare for the very dregs 
of his wit' as Nashe wrote later about his friend. Greene 
sees the advantage of another voice raised against Mar- 
lowe and, in addition, the proposal he makes Nashe is 
flattering, and gratitude in a disciple is good. He suggests 
that Tom write the preface to a new work of his entitled 
Mena$hon. Even if it were the other way around, what a 
feather in Nashe's cap! He accepts eagerly, and the swag- 
ger in his walk enters his prose, for it is addressed 'To the 
Gentlemen Students of Both Universities': C I am not 
ignorant how eloquent our gowned age is grown of late 5 
so that euery mechanicall mate abhorreth the English he 
was borne to, and plucks, with a solemn periphrasis, his 
vt vales from the inke-horne: which I impute, not so much 
to the perfection of Arts, as to the seruile imitation of 
vaine glorious Tragedians, who contend not so seriously to 

78 The Muses' Darling 

excell in action, as to embowell the cloudes in a speech of 
comparison, thinking themselues more than initiated in 
Poets immortality, if they but once get Boreas by the beard 
and the heauenly Bull by the deawlap. 

c But heerin I cannot so fully bequeath them to folly, as 
their ideot Art-masters, that intrude themselues to our 
eares as the Alcumists of eloquence, who (mounted on the 
stage of arrogance) thinke to out-braue better pennes with 
the swelling bumbast of bragging blanke verse. 3 

It is not yet the style of the swashbuckler in prose whose 
tracts discomfited and pursued Gabriel Harvey, the lover 
of books and hounder (as we shall see) of men who wrote 
themj it smacks still of Robert Greene, and indeed so 
much is the master in the mind of the disciple, that the 
thrust is as much for the friend as against the foe. He will 
do better than this in time; like the philosopher in Ra- 
belais, he will thwack, bump, batter, knock, thrust, push, 
jerk, shock and shake his opponent when the grudge is 
great, but Marlowe is not his nemesis, and he is merely 
taking up the cudgels in behalf of another. 

In any case, the foregoing did not prevent Nashe and 
Marlowe from becoming or remaining friends, and 
Nashe could write a few years later, and believe it to be 
the truth: *I neuer abusd Marloe.* 

Like Greene, Tom Nashe was not content to direct his 
fire at a single foe. The salute to his friend and the shot 
at 'Art-master 5 Marlowe contains a sneering allusion to 

First Salvos Against Marlowe 79 

another of the London luminaries, Thomas Kyd, author of 
The Spanish Tragedie and a play about Hamlet. 

Kyd was not one of the University wits. The son of a 
scrivener, or professional penman, his studies had been 
limited to the Merchant Taylors 5 school in East Smith- 
field, which the poet Edmund Spenser had also attended} 
Spenser, however, proceeded to Cambridge. There is no 
record to show that Kyd went any higher. It is possible 
that he supported himself for a time in his father's profes- 
sion, for he could write both the Italian and English 

The publication (in 1581) of Seneca his tenne Trage- 
dies translated into English had a profound influence on 
Kyd. This is Nashe's commentary: c lt is a common prac- 
tise now a dayes amongst a sort of shifting companions, 
that runne through euery Art and thriue by none, to leaue 
the trade of Nouerint, whereto they were borne, and busie 
themselues with the indeuors of Art, that could scarcely 
Latinize their neck verse if they should haue needej yet 
English Seneca read by Candle-light yeelds many good 
sentences, as Blood is a beggar y and so forth} and if you 
intreate him faire in a frostie morning, hee will affoord 
you whole Hamlets, I should say handfuls of Tragicail 
speeches . . ? 

That Kyd is surely meant is seen by the reference to 
Nouerint y from the phrase Nouerint uniuersi $er ^prae- 
sentes a with which scriveners began their documents. As 
for his not being able to save himself from hanging by 
reading a Latin verse from the Bible, a quaint custom of 

*Know all men by these presents. 

8o The Muse? Barling 

the time, the man was too circumspect in his behavior to be 
in peril. It was only after he met Marlowe that trouble 
came and then scholarship or the lack of it made no 
difference, although Nashe seems to think otherwise: 
'what can be hoped of those that thrust Elisium into hell, 
and haue not learned, as long as they haue liued in the 
spheares, the iust measure of the Horizon without an 
hexameter. Sufficeth them to bodge vp a blanke verse with 
ifs and ands.' 

In Act I of The Spanish Tragedie y Elysium is repre- 
sented as being in the nether world, while in Act II occurs 
the line: 'What, Villaine, ifs and ands?' 

Such things fluster a scholar. 

If Kyd counter-attacked, there is no record of it. But 
in Gabriel Harvey's brother Richard he found an unex- 
pected challenger of Nashe's pretensions. 

In the parish of the Thomas Walsinghams, the Rev- 
erend Richard Harvey, having digested Nashe's tract, and 
perhaps recalling something of the man from school days, 
set about taking him down a peg or two. He had come a 
long way from Saffron Walden via Cambridge divinity5 
and full of pious zeal, and with the example of his brother 
to spur him on, he is writing a book: A Theologicall Dis- 
covrse of the Lamb of God and His Enemies: Contayning 
a brief e Commentarie of Christian faith and felicitie > to- 
gether with a detection of old and new Barbarisme, now 

First Salvos Against Marlowe 81 

commonly called Martinisme. Long book titles ran in the 

It is the time of the Martin Marprelate controversy, 
when a reverend gentleman with literary ambitions might 
be supposed to have his hands full defending the estab- 
lished order, if he needs must write. But the Harveys 
were ever versatile, and Richard has a style: C I was loth 
to enter this discourse, but vppon request where I might 
be commaunded: I prouoke not any but Martin who 
prouoketh all men: I was desired to giue like iudgement 
of certaine other, but it becummeth me not to play that 
part in Diuinitie, that one Thomas Nash hath lately done 
in humanitie, who taketh vppon him in ciuill learning, as 
Martin doth in religion, peremptorily censuring his bet- 
ters at pleasure, Poets, Orators, Polihistors, Lawyers, and 
whome not? and making as much and as little of euery 
man as himselfe listeth. Many a man talketh of Robin 
Hoody that neuer shot in his bowe.' 

This stung when it came Nashe's way, and in hot anger 
he wrote down: 'This is that Dick of whom Kit Marloe 
was wont to say that he was an asse, good for nothing but 
to preach of the Iron Age.' 2 

It sounds authoritative. 


Preview of a Play 


IN THE SUMMER of 1589, Christopher Marlowe 
and his friend Thomas Watson were both lodging in 
the Liberty of Norton Folgate, north of the city, conven- 
iently adjacent to Shoreditch where stood The Theatre 
and Curtain. We know this, because trouble is at hand for 

Westward from Norton Folgate there extended a street 
called Hog Lane which thrust through meadows to a 
cluster of windmills in Finsbury Fields. Here, Marlowe 
had observed, he could take the air in contemplative mood. 

By night the taverns might draw him cityward, but St. 
PauPs was the magnet by day. Swift trips down Bishops- 
gate Street, swinging past Cornhill and Cheapside, bring 
him to the cathedral's stalls, to rummage for volumes for 
his little library new matter from the press to con, new 
matter which, like the alchemist he is, he will transmute 
into gold. 

One day he found a prize. 


He is standing in Edward White's stall at the Sign of 
the Gun near the north door of the Cathedral, his lip 


Preview of a Play 83 

curled in derision at the heaps of fatuous matter intended 
for gulls, when he finds himself holding a paper-covered 
pamphlet of some eighty pages, a translation with an 
undistinguished format and a didactic title: 'THE HIS- 
TORIE of the damnable life, and deserued death of Doc- 
tor lohn Faustus? 1 

What was there in this to charge his blood witK elation, 
so that his fingers tingled? Quickly he flipped over the 
title-page, and saw there, at the top of the next page, the 
argument of the book advanced: C A Discourse of the most 
famous Doctor lohn Faustus of Wittenberg in Germanie, 
Coniurer, and Necromancer: wherein is declared many 
strange things that he himselfe hath seene, and done in 
the earth and in the Ayre, with his bringing vp, his 
trauailes, studies, and last end.' Once more he flips over 
the page} and finds himself reading about a divinity stu- 
dent about himself: <Iohn Faustus, borne in the town of 
Rhode, lying in the Prouince of Weimer in Germanie 
... his father a poore Husbandman . . . but hauing an 
Uncle at Wittenberg a rich man, & without issue, who 
took this I. Faustus from his father, & made him his 
heire, in so much that his father was no more troubled 
with him, for he remained with his Uncle at Wittenberg, 
where he was kept at ye Uniuersitie in the same citie to 
study diuinity. . . ' 

To all men there come moments of exaltation because 
chance is magically on their side, moments that are wholly 

84 The Muses* Darling 

theirs because the luck that has befallen them was un- 
locked for yet was not altogether unexpected. Such mo- 
ments are Marlowe's now, and a spell is over him as he 
reads on: 'But Faustus being of a naughty minde & other- 
wise addicted, applied not to his studies, but tooke him- 
self e to other exercises . . .' And still the parallel: 'Faustus 
continued at study in the Uniuersity, & was by the Rectors 
and sixteene Masters afterwards examined how he had 
profited in his studies j and being found by them, that 
none for his time were able to argue with him in Diuinity, 
or for the excellency of his wisedome to compare with 
him, with one consent they made him Doctor of Diuinitie. 
But Doctor Faustus within short time after hee had ob- 
tained his degree, fell into such fantasies and deepe cogi- 
tations, that he was marked of many, and of the most part 
of the Students was called the Speculator. . . .' 

Quickly Marlowe thumbs through the chapter head- 
ings 'How Doctor Faustus began to practice in his 
diuelish Arte, and how he coniured the DiueP .... 'The 
conference of Doctor Faustus with the Spirit Mephosto- 
philes. . . .' The delectable headings are many. He calls 
for the bookseller, who comes apace, fingering his change. 
The purchase is made, and Marlowe hastens to his lodg- 
ings. He reads. He dreams. He writes. 

Now comes Thomas Watson, to hear the gathering 

Preview of a Play 85 

symphony of his young friend's masterpiece and start the 
applause that is soon to ring out over London. 

Poetry, however his own or Marlowe's is not the 
only concern of Watson at this time. 


Background of a Feud 

THE Sign of the Bishop at Gray's Inn Lane's End 
creaked over one of the oldest inns in Holborn. It 
was a hospitable outpost for the traveler riding into Lon- 
don from Oxford or the west. The innkeeper was William 
Bradley, father of two sons, one named for him, who had 
not inherited his hospitable nature. The story of William 
Bradley the younger and his brother Richard indicates just 
the opposite. 

The two brothers appear in the records as brawlers early 
in life. In 1582, when William was only nineteen, he and 
Richard got into a scuffle with one Zachary Sherme, a 
jerkin-maker's apprentice, who thwacked them both 
soundly. Thereupon the brothers ran howling to the law, 
and Zachary and his master were haled before Justice 
Robert Harrys, in Chancery, to present their recog- 
nizances 'for woundinge Richard and w m the sonnes of 
w 1 * Bradley of Greys Inne Ian inholder.' Bail was set at 
twenty pounds apiece, which gives the scuffle a rather 
serious sound. (In law, a recognizance is a bond or obliga- 
tion, entered into and recorded before a court or magis- 
trate, by which a person engages himself to perform some 
act or observe some condition, as to appear when called on, 


Background of a Feud 87 

to pay a debt, or to keep the peace j also, a sum of money 
pledged as a surety for such performance, and rendered 
forfeit by neglect of it.) 

Four years later, in 1586, Mine Host Bradley himself 
appeared before Justice Harrys 5 but the record indicates 
that he stepped into a brawl in which Richard was a prin- 
cipal. In that year two sureties (or bondsmen) bound 
themselves in five pounds each in his behalf, and he him- 
self for ten pounds, to keep the peace against two of his 
neighbors of Gray's Inn Lane, Thomas Oliver and John 
Norton. In filling out the form the court clerk put Rich- 
ard's name down first, perhaps through familiarity, then 
substituted the father's 'pro [Richo] Willo Bradley de 
Greys Inn lane predicta Inholder.' 


The above may suffice for the Bradley family's back- 
ground, at least as regards temperament. Master William 
Bradley's feud with Thomas Watson, gentleman and poet, 
would appear to be outside the scope of a mere brawler, 
but the few clues that have come down to us concerning 
their quarrel indicate there was nothing unusual about it, 
except for the turn it took. These clues are now presented 
in chronological order. 

On March 8, 1588, young William bound himself to 
pay fourteen pounds on the following August 25 to John 
Alleyn of London, innholder and brother of Edward 
Alleyn, the actor. The money was never paid, for the bond 
remained in AUeyn's hands. 

88 The Muses* Darling 

Alleyn's attorney was one Hugh Swift, who happened 
to be Watson's brother-in-law. Swift, it would appear, 
called on Bradley and threatened suit in the Court of 
Common Pleas if the money was not forthcoming. Brad- 
ley still demurred, and the issue remained in the air. 

Bradley had for friend and neighbor, on the other side 
of Gray's Inn Lane opposite the Bishop, one George Or- 
rell, a hard-bitten youth of his own age who lived to be- 
come a famous soldier in the Irish campaigns. Orrell is de- 
scribed as a man 'who holds his neck awry,' which may 
have been due to a natural defect} it may also have been 
brought about by a belligerent stance. Orrell, hearing the 
tale of his friend, sympathized, and offered his services in 
case of need. And so the matter dragged along through 

Going to interview Bradley again in the summer of 
1589, Swift was threatened with bodily harm by Orrell 5 
whereupon the attorney sped before a justice. In the 
Queen's Bench Controlment Rolls, it is written: 'Hugo 
Swyfte petitions securities of the peace against George 
Orrell being in fear of death, etc.' 

The petition was returnable November 25, during 
Michaelmas term. 

When Watson heard what had befallen his brother-in- 
law, he set forth in his company to corner Bradley, and 
with them went Alleyn, for it was his money that was in- 
volved. This sortie is evident from the next record, like- 

Background of a Feud 89 

wise garnered from the Queen's Bench Controlment Rolls: 
'William Bradley petitions securities of the peace against 
Hugo Swyft & John Allen & Thomas Watson being in 
fear of death, etc.' With the petition went an attachment 
which directed the sheriff of Middlesex to order the three 
men to appear at Westminster Hall on November 25, but 
Bradley did not live to press his complaint. 

The petitions of Swift and Bradley came so close to- 
gether that both are recorded on the same membrane of 
parchment. Of the three men against whom Bradley peti- 
tioned securities of the peace, Watson with his elegant 
dress and Continental airs would have been the one to 
annoy the innkeeper's son most. In any case, it was Watson 
that he singled out for personal combat. On September 
1 8 he walked the length of the city from Gray's Inn Lane 
to the Liberty of Norton Folgate in vengeful mood. Not 
finding Watson present, he strolled back and forth, nurs- 
ing his wrath, in Hog Lane. 

An hour or so later he was dead. 


The Duel In Hog Lane 


THE troubles of his friend Watson, Watson's brother- 
in-law, et al y did not weigh heavily on the youthful 
shoulders of Christopher Marlowe. It would be his notion 
having heard the tale that if he met up with Master 
Bradley one of these days, he would give him a thrashing. 
But if a thrashing was out of the question it was a grown 
man and a quarrelsome one, to boot what then? Would 
it all end up in defiant words only, loud and derisive, like 
a pair of street hawkers? A pox on argument, thought 
Mario we 5 he had a better tongue in his scabbard, one 
which words might not parry. 

And so it fell out. 

The scene is Hog Lane, Finsbury Fields. A patch of sky 
has fallen into the ditch at one end. In the background, 
three windmills flail the air, and sunlight catches the sail 
and flash of ponderous arms. 

It is September 18, 1589, ^between the second and 
third hours after noon.* Two young men come face to 
face, and fall to with their swords. They are Christopher 
Marlowe and William Bradley. If they did anything more 
than confront each other and flash steel, the records are 


The Duel in Hog Lane 91 

As they lunged and thrust at each other, their mutter- 
ings and imprecations, and the clang of sword on sword, 
drew a crowd. None durst intervene, but all set up a 
clamor and craned necks for the constable. He was long in 

Up and down Hog Lane the brunt of battle bore them, 
and with them the lookers-on, a babble of voices and a 
swirl of legs. The two sworders, breathing heavily in their 
dance-of-death shuttle, grew arm-weary and faint. 

In the background, the windmills flailed the air with 
rhythmic arms, looming like ogres as the eyes of the 
duellers caught the sail and flash of ponderous movement. 

The next to come upon the scene was Thomas Watson, 
sword drawn. Hurling himself into the fray with sudden- 
ness, he took up the quarrel. Marlowe fell back, and 
Bradley assailed his new opponent: 

c Art thou now come?' he said. 'Then I will have a bout 
with thee.' 

He got more than he asked for, however. With sword 
and dagger he belabored Watson, but he had overreached 
himself in taking on a second comer. Watson, pressed hard, 
retreated before his sullen foe, but arriving shortly at the 
ditch at the end of Hog Lane, he stood his ground, his 
sword dissecting the threatening angles made by his op- 
ponent's sword and dagger. The longed-for opening sud- 
denly came, and he thrust hard, driving the steel six 
inches into Bradley's chest. Sword and dagger clattered 
from Bradley's hands, and he sank, gushing blood, at 
Watson's feet. The crowd surged forward and dosed inj 

92 The Muses* Darling 

someone at the outer fringe ran pell-mell down Hog 
Lane, crying the news. 

Into this hubbub of voices came the constable of Norton 
Folgate, Stephen Wyld. He needs no accusing finger to 
point out his man. Watson, disheveled, sword under arm, 
stands there, his face white and drawn. By his side is Mar- 
lowe, cheering his bruised friend. 

The sequel is not long in coming. The two men, sub- 
missive to the law, are marched off to the nearest justice, 
Sir Owen Hopton, Lieutenant of the Tower of London. It 
was not to be the last time Marlowe would stand before 

Dully the two men listen to the constable's harangue. 
A warrant is drawn up committing them to jail, and they 
are led across the city to Newgate. 

This was the enrollment and the charge: 'Thomas Wat- 
son lately of Norton ffowlgate in Middlesex County, gen- 
tleman, & Christopher Marlowe lately of the Same, 
yoman, who were brought to the Gaole the xviij th day 
of September by Stephen wyld, Constable, both on Sus- 
picion of Murder.' 1 

Before they are thrust into the prison's gloomy fast- 
ness, Marlowe sends word of his plight to one outside. 


The next day, Ion Chalkhill, gentleman, coroner of 
Middlesex County, summoned a jury of twelve worthy 
and law-abiding men, and the inquest got under way, c m 
sight of the Body of William Bradley there lying dead 

The Duel in Hog Lane 93 

and slain.' Marlowe and Watson appear, and they tell 
their story of self-defense with persuasive earnestness. 
Bradley is dead, and there are no interruptions. No death- 
bed statement is suddenly exhibited to confound the nar- 
rators. Watson's sword had done its work well, and the 
ghost of Hog Lane hovered mutely, if at all. 

Now Master Chalkhill polls his jurors 'Geoffrey 
Witworth, william vernon, William Yomans, Peter Paw- 
son, Thomas Cowper, John Holmes, Thomas Kingeston, 
John Harlowe, Richard Owen, william white, william 
Homan and John Hyde, worthy and law-abiding men of 
said Middlesex County, Who say upon their oath that, 
Whereas the aforesaid William Bradley and a certain 
Christopher Morley lately of London, gentleman, were 
on the xviij th day of September in the thirty-first Year 
above mentioned (i.e., of the Reign of Elizabeth) fight- 
ing together in a certain alley called hoglane in the parish 
of St. Giles without Creplegate in the aforesaid Middlesex 
County between the second and third hours after noon of 
that day: Thereupon, upon the clamor of the bystanders, 
in the same day and year and between the hours aforesaid, 
there did intervene a certain Thomas watson lately of 
London, gentleman, to separate the aforesaid William 
Bradley and Christopher Morley thus fighting and to pre- 
serve the said Queen's peace. And for that reason he then 
and there drew his sword. Whereupon the aforesaid Chris- 
topher Morley drew back & ceased to fight.' 

It is like the clash between Tybalt and Mercutio in 
Romeo and Juliet save that Marlowe is unscratched: 
'And thereupon the aforesaid William Bradley, seeing the 

94 The Muses' Darling 

same Thomas watson thus intervening there with his 
sword drawn, spoke to him in the following English 
words, that is to say {art thowe nowe come then I will 
haue a boute w ih thee). And instantly this william Bradley 
then and there made an assault upon the aforesaid Thomas 
watson and then and there wounded, struck and ill-treated 
the said Thomas watson with a sword and dagger of iron 
and steel, So that he despaired of his life. By reason of 
which the said Thomas watson with his aforesaid sword 
of iron and steel of a value of iii shillings iiij pence, which 
he then and there had and held in his right hand, did 
defend himself against the aforesaid William Bradley and 
fled from the aforesaid William Bradley for the saving of 
his life as far as to a certain ditch in the aforesaid alley, 
beyond which ditch this Thomas watson could not flee 
without peril of his life. And the aforesaid william Brad- 
ley continuing his aforesaid attack, had then and there 
closely followed the said Thomas Watson. Upon which 
the aforesaid Thomas Watson for the saving of his life 
then and there struck the aforesaid William Bradley with 
his sword aforesaid, giving him a mortal blow or wound 
in and upon the right side of the chest of the said william 
Bradley near the breast, six inches in depth and one in 
breadth, from which same mortal wound this William 
Bradley at ffynsebury in Middlesex County aforesaid in- 
stantly died. And so the aforesaid Jurors say upon their 
aforesaid oath that the aforesaid Thomas Watson killed 
and slew the aforesaid William Bradley in self-defense 
and in the manner and form aforesaid, against the said 
Queen's peace, crown and dignity, and not by felony nor 

The Duel in Hog Lane 95 

in any other way than is said above. In witness whereof 
both the coroner and the Jurors have set their seals alter- 
nately upon this Inquest.' 2 

It is all in legal Latin, save the taunt 'art thowe nowe 
come 5 by Bradley when Watson hove in sight. Master 
Chalkhill has drawn up his document as the law required, 
and his jurors concur in the finding, 'self -defense, in the 
manner and form aforesaid' all of them worthy and law- 
abiding men to Marlowe and Watson, snatched from 
under the hangman's crossbar, most estimable, most 
worthy, men of good sense all, from the foreman, Wit- 
worth, down to the last one. Leaving Finsbury, scene of 
the inquest, they are led back to Newgate, secretly exult- 
ing. It was now only a matter of days or weeks or 
months, even, but what of that? when due process of law 
would set them free. 

Time, however, was no longer a matter of expectant 
reckoning to William Bradley, lying dead in Finsbury. A 
sworder's thrust had put a red period to his twenty-six 
years. There remained only to complete the record, in the 
register books at St. Andrew's, that had been begun in 
1562, when 'William Bradley sone of William Bradley 
was Christined the xxviij of October.' And so, on Septem- 
ber 19, 1589, an erstwhile likely lad, but quarrelsome, 
was borne back to the parish of his birth, and there buried. 

Following the coroner's verdict, Marlowe was entitled 
to bail. He needed only two men of substance who would 

96 The Muses' Darling 

give their bond for his appearance at the next Gaol De- 
livery Sessions of Newgate, to be set free. He had sent 
word would they come? 

The answer is to be found in the Gaol Delivery Rolls: 
'Middlesex. Be it remembered that, the first day of Oc- 
tober in the year of the reign of our lady Elizabeth, 
Queen, etc., the Thirty-first, Richard Kytchine of Clif- 
ford's Inne, gentleman, & Humfrey Rowland of East 
Smithfeilde in the county aforesaid, horner, came before 
me, William Fletewoode, Sergeant at Law and Recorder 
of the City of London, one of the Justices of our lady the 
Queen appointed in the county aforesaid, & became sure- 
ties for Christopher Marley of London, gentleman: to wit, 
each of the sureties aforesaid under penalty of twenty 
pounds, and he, the said Christopher Marley, undertook 
for himself, under penalty of forty pounds of his and 
their and either of their goods, chattels, lands and tene- 
ments, to be levied to the use and behoof of our said lady 
the Queen on condition that he the said Christopher shall 
personally appear at the next Sessions of Newgate to an- 
swer everything that may be alleged against him on the 
part of the Queen, and shall not depart without the per- 
mission of the Court.' s 

It is a recognizance binding Marlowe to appear at the 
Old Bailey on December 3, when 'the next Sessions of 
Newgate' were to be held. Eighty pounds was a lot of 
money to become liable for, but two weeks after the duel 
in Hog Lane, Richard Kitchen, attorney, and Humphrey 
Rowland, maker of horn handles and lantern windows, 
stood with the poet before Recorder Fleetwood and gave 

The Duel in Hog Lane 97 

their word and their bond to set him free. All honor to 
them, although money being what it is they did it for 
a fee. 

Watson, meanwhile, languished in Newgate. He was 
there eleven weeks, gnawing his impatience in its dark, 
damp, rat-infested depths. On December 3, he was led out 
into the daylight and, pale and blinking, brought into the 
Hall of Justice in the Old Bailey. Perhaps Marlowe saw 
his friend brought in, for he was there to fulfill the terms 
of his bond. 

Now Watson stands before the bar. His head is up, his 
figure is tense. Before him sit the justices in their robes, an 
imposing array. A clerk intones: 'Thomas Watson, lately 
of London, gentleman, taken for cause shown in a certain 
Inquest taken in duplicate at ffynnesburie in Middlesex 
County the xxix 131 day of September in the xxxi^ Year 
of the Reign of Elizabeth, by god's grace Queen of Eng- 
land, ffrance and ireland, defender of the faith, &c., be- 
fore Ion Chalkhill, gentleman, one of the Coroners of said 
Middlesex County, in sight of the Body of William Brad- 
ley there lying dead and slain. 5 

The inquest is handed up. The clerk who transcribes it 
is agitated, or his eyesight is bad, and he reads xviij as 
xxvKj; getting into the thick of the fight in Hog Lane, 
he writes faster than his wont and gives Marlowe the name 
of William. At last it is over: c Which Inquest of the said 
Coroner is now here recorded. And now cometh the afore- 
said Thomas Watson before the aforesaid Justices, brought 
to the bar in his own proper person by the sheriff of the 
County aforesaid. And the Inquest aforesaid having been 

98 The Muses' Darling 

seen, the said Thomas Watson is remanded to prison by 
the Justices aforesaid in the custody of the said sheriff to 
await the Queen's grace.' 

Now it is Marlowe's turn. In the margin of his recog- 
nizance, drawn up by Recorder Fleetwood who is now 
sitting as one of the justices at the Old Bailey, the clerk 
wrote: c reu & del' per proclam' 'he returned and was 
quit by proclamation/ which relieved Master Kitchen and 
Master Rowland considerably. Shortly after, over in New- 
gate, in the margin of the parchment recording the im- 
prisonment of the two poets, there was added before Wat- 
son's name, in Latin, the word 'bailed,' and before Mar- 
lowe's 'quit by proclamation.' Their troubles were now 
over, although Watson had to await the Queen's grace, or 
pardon, until February 10, 1590, two months and a week 
after his hearing at the Old Bailey. On that day, Queen 
Elizabeth at Westminster signed a bill of pardon which, 
like the Gaol Delivery document, rehearsed the coroner's 
inquest word for word, and concluded: 'We, moved with 
pity, have pardoned the said Thomas Watson the breach 
of our peace which concerns us against him for the afore- 
said death. And we by these presents do give and concede 
to him our firm peace therefor. Upon the condition, how- 
ever, that he will stand forth in our Courts should -anyone 
desire to talk with him concerning the aforesaid death.' 4 

Such were the coils a killer had to shuffle off to escape 
the hangman but Marlowe was no sooner clear of the 

The Duel in Hog Lcme 99 

law than he put himself in mortal jeopardy again by a 
species of braggadoccio which seems incredible 5 he boasted 
<That he had as good Right to Coine as the Queen of Eng- 
land, and that he was acquainted with one Poole a prisoner 
in Newgate who hath greate Skill in mixture of mettals 
and hauing learned some thinges of him he ment through 
help of a Cunninge stamp maker to Coin ffrench Crownes 
pistoletes and English shillinges'! The penalty for coun- 
terfeiting was boiling in oil. 

There was something of the revolutionary in Marlowe; 
his rebellion against spiritual and temporal authority (and 
his innovations in the theater) show that 5 but it is diffi- 
cult to believe that he was serious when he asserted that 
'he had as good Right to Coine as the Queen' (even if he 
had no intention of exercising his 'right' equally with 
the sovereign by actually coining). There was also some- 
thing childish in him 5 for if this utterance of his was 
merely a jest, and part of the tale of his sojourn in New- 
gate, it was unwise and dangerous to make it. 

More easily understandable is the effect of his New- 
gate experience on his life and work. Waiting patiently 
for his sureties to come forward, waiting with growing 
anxiety for his release and the free air of London, waiting 
for the Queen's grace for Watson, how often must he 
have rehearsed the events of the duel and its aftermath in 
his mind seen Bradley striding towards him in Hog Lane 
and the affray start which only death could terminate 
seen Watson taking up the fight that he had begun and 
the dead youth at their feet, dead, perhaps, because he, 
Marlowe, had not had the presence of mind to talk him 

ioo The Muses' Darling 

out of his vengeful quest, and feeling the guilt of a co- 
murderer. In the Second Part of Tamburlaine occur the 
following lines: 

I know sir, what it is to kil a man, 
It works remorse of conscience in me. 


Raleigh, Spenser and Marlowe 


IT WOULD BE to your peril to glance at Sir Walter 
Raleigh as you might at a dapper jack or dandy, witH 
contempt 5 but there he is, laced and jeweled, feathered 
and caped, the eyes hard that had seen America, but able 
to melt to softness over a girl in a garden 1 or steel them- 
selves harder at the slaughter of a garrison $ 2 limbs like 
ironwood under soft sleeves, and sword at side poised like 
a runner about to leap. 

I see him treading the deck as the wind blows westward, 
crowding the sails of his ship on the Irish Sea England 
aft, and with it the fading images of bustling streets, the 
whispering court already fawning on Essex, the new 
favorite. It was a shrewd move to absent himself c he 
knew there was some ill office done him, that he durst not 
attempt to mind any other wayes, than by going aside j 
thereby to teach envy a new way of forgetfulnessej' s 
strive with courtiers he would not, and perchance the 
Queen might question whither he had gone, for she was a 
woman, and had looked kindly on him. 

He had come before her first during the Irish troubles, 
when his own colors flew in the field in the service of Lord 
Grey of Wilton, Spenser's master j but Raleigh was not 

IO2 The Muses* Darling 

one to abide the presence of a superior, and they fell out. 
The dispute that developed between Grey and Raleigh, 
says Naunton, 'drew them both over the Councell Table, 
there to plead their cause, where (what advantage he had 
in the cause, I know not) but he had much better in the 
telling of his talej and so much, that the Queen and the 
Lords took no slight mark of the man, and his parts 5 for 
from thence he came to be known, and to have accesse to 
the Queen, and the Lords.' 

When, for his services and his charm he was awarded 
estates in Munster and made Lord Warden of the Stan- 
neries and Lieutenant of Cornwall by the queen's grace 
(for she never handed over cash when the means of mak- 
ing money would serve), their Lordships took fright at his 
rise: *He had gotten the Queens eare at a trice, and she 
began to be taken with his elocution, and loved to hear 
his reasons to her demands: and the truth is, she took him 
for a kind of Oracle, which netled them allj yea, those 
that he relyed on, began to take his suddain favour as an 
Allarum, and to be sensible of their own supplantation, 
and to project his, which made him shortly after sing, 
Fortune my joe? 

Serving with Grey, he had become acquainted with his 
lordship's secretary, Edmund Spenser; pleasant recollec- 
tions of the man and his work drew Raleigh to him now 
this visit, and inspection of his Irish holdings, would suffice 
to occupy him until he deemed the time propitious for his 
return to England. It was thus that Spenser, dwelling at 
Kilcolman, in the county of Cork, received one day the 
soldier-poet he had never forgotten. 

Raleigh) Spenser and 'Marloi&e 103 

The visit marked a turning point in both their lives. 
A succession of unspectacular but steady posts in Ireland 
under the Crown had left Spenser, still a bachelor at 
thirty-seven, grooved in quietness, but writing volumin- 
ously} he had been granted the manor and castle of Kil- 
colman for his services, and was content, or so he deemed, 
with his lot. Talk of Irish affairs and the Armada, in the 
pursuit of which Raleigh had played a part, might fail 
to rouse his spirit to the point of adventure, but it must 
have been otherwise when his welcome guest chose literary 
London for his theme, bringing word of new writers, new 
plays. It was then that Spenser ventured to bring out the 
manuscript of The Faerie Queene to show his friend} and 
Raleigh found himself holding in his hands not only a 
jewel of rare price, but the opportunity to return to his 
royal mistress in triumph sooner than he expected. His 
commendatory verse on Spenser's great poem leaves little 
doubt that it was he who urged the dedication of The 
Faerie Queene to 'The Most High, Mightie and Mag- 
nificent Empresse* Elizabeth: 

// thou hast formed right true vertues jace herein: 
Vertue her selfe can best discerne y to whom they written 


If thou hast beautie ftraysd, let her sole lookes diuine 
ludge if ought therein be amis, and mend it by her eine. 
If Chastitie want ought, or Temperance her dew, 
Behold her Princely mind aright, and write thy Queene 


IO4 The Muses' Darling 

It was not difficult, with praise of his poem and talk of 
the court and the queen, and whither these things in con- 
junction might lead, to fire Spenser's mind, that had but 
smouldered in retirement} and thus it was, in the summer 
or fall of 1589, that the two men embarked together for 

Perhaps Marlowe met Spenser on this famous visit 
(there is ample evidence that he already knew Raleigh) 
and saw the manuscript of The Faerie Queene. Two color- 
ful passages and several lines from Spenser's poem found 
their way from memory, and with changes into the 
Second Part of Tambwrlcwne. 


Some of the evidence of Marlowe's acquaintance with 
the dark-haired Raleigh in his pearled and silver-gleam- 
ing garments may now be considered. It was about this 
time that Marlowe wrote a poem that can be mentioned on 
the same page with The Faerie Queene. It is interesting 
besides because it contains a hint but no more of a ro- 
mantic attachment. 

Scholars have evolved the thesis that much of the love 
poetry of the Elizabethans was composed as exercises in 
the art of verse perhaps the art of pleasing, as well. It 
ought to be a simple matter to separate this kind of poetry 
from the other. . . . 

To a young man of twenty-five, and a poet, an en- 
counter nay, sometimes merely a fleeting glimpse, if the 
image be but fair enough is sufficient to evoke music 

Raleigh, Spenser and Marlowe 105 

from desire. Was this the catalyst that was at work when 
Marlowe sat down to write The passionate Sheepheard to 
his loue? Or was it indeed something more academic, that 
would bring this poem closer to the scholars' thesis, if 
not completely into its fold? For it echoes Ovid's Meta- 
morphoses, the source also of a fifteenth century Spanish 
pastoral, which might have served as Marlowe's model. 
It is by Rodrigo Reinoso: 

I will give you painted shows, 
Fair striped kirtles, 
Caps as large 
As I can find. 

I will give you yellow ribbons 

Shoes, sandals, slippers j 

I will bring you a thousand marvels 

So there won't be your peer in the village. 

I will give you good gowns, 
Belts and girdles, 

So that amongst all the young girls 
There will be none to equal you. 

I will give you cheese and butter 
Which I have from my flock} 
I will make gittern-music 
For you to go dancing. 4 

Whatever the reason his poem would justify almost 
any motivation, even that of imitation one day he wrote: 

106 The Muses' Darling 

Come liue with mee, and be my loue, 
And we will all the pleasures proue, 
That Vallies, groues, hills and fieldes, 
Woods, or steepie mountaine yeeldes. 

And we will sit vpon the Rocks, 
Seeing the Sheepheards feede theyr flocks 
By shallow Riuers, to whose falls 
Melodious byrds sing Madrigalls. 

And I will make thee beds of Roses, 
And a thousand fragrant poesies, 
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle, 
Imbroydred all with leaues o Mirtle. 

A gowne made of the finest wooll, 
Which from our pretty Lambes we pull, 
Fayre lined slippers for the cold, 
With buckles of the purest gold. 

A belt of straw and luie buds, 
With Corall clasps and Amber studs, 
And if these pleasures may thee moue, 
Come liue with mee, and be my loue. 

The Sheepheards Swaines shall daunce & sing 
For thy delight each May-morning. 
If these delights thy minde may moue, 
Then liue with mee, and be my loue. 

And being twenty-five, and a poet, he showed the 
verses to his friends. Raleigh has recorded his familiarity 
with them in The Nimphs Reply to the Sheef heard: 

Raleigh y Spenser and Marlowe 107 

If all the world and loue were young, 
And truth in euery Sheepheards tongue, 
These pretty pleasures might me moue, 
To liue with thee, and be thy loue. 

Time driues the flocks from field to fold, 
When Riuers rage, and Rocks grow cold, 
And Philomell becommeth dombe, 
The rest complaines of cares to come. 

The flowers doe fade, and wanton fieldes, 
To wayward winter reckoning yeeldes, 
A honny tongue, a hart of gall, 
Is fancies spring, but sorrowes fall. 

Thy gownes, thy shooes, thy beds of Roses, 
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy poesies, 
Soone breake, soone wither, soone forgotten: 
In f ollie ripe, in reason rotten. 

Thy belt of straw and luie buddes, 
Thy Corall claspes and Amber studdes, 
All these in mee no meanes can moue, 
To come to thee, and be thy loue. 

But could youth last, and loue still breede, 
Had ioyes no date, nor age no neede, 
Then these delights my minde might moue, 
To liue with thee, and be thy loue. 

Thenceforward, first for their own circle, but afterwards 
for all the world, Marlowe's poem and his were linked 
together: the invitation to love, and love's answer, full of 

!O8 The Muses* Darling 

wisdom. Donne, Herrick and Cotton wrote imitations of 
The Passionate Sheef heard; and it was in their time that 
Izaak Walton's incomparable praise appeared: 'Her voice 
was good, and the Ditty fitted for it 5 'twas that smooth 
song which was made by Kit. Marlow, now at least fifty 
years ago: and the milk-maids Mother sung an answer to 
it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger 
days. They were old fashioned Poetry, but choicely good, 
I think much better than the strong lines that are now in 
fashion in this critical age.' 5 

It was unfortunate for Marlowe in the end that his 
dealings with Raleigh were not confined to poetry. A 
more sinister relationship I give the view of contempo- 
raries existed. 

At Raleigh's dwelling in Durham House, once the town 
house of the See of Durham, seized by the crown in Ed- 
ward VI's days, relinquished by Mary, and resumed by 
Elizabeth for disposal to her favorites, there gathered a 
group of men with probing minds scientists, scholars, 
poets. One of the most remarkable members of this re- 
markable group was Thomas Harriot, 6 Raleigh's mathe- 
matical tutor and devoted friend, a scholar and scientist 
who had made important astronomical discoveries j who 
wrote A brief e and true report of the new -found land of 
Virginia (he had been a member of Raleigh's first colon- 
ization party), and who was the inventor of the telescope 
(the honor, in any case, appears to be evenly divided be- 

Raleighy Spenser and Marlowe . 109 

tween him and Galileo, who was experimenting with long- 
distance lenses at the same time). Other members included 
Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland, Raleigh's 
fellow-prisoner in the Tower in the dark days to comej 
Walter Warner, a mathematician, and the poets George 
Chapman and Matthew Roydon. 

In the privacy of Raleigh's study overlooking the 
Thames, the incense of tobacco smoke rising from little 
silver pipes, lively, occasionally blasphemous, discussions 
were carried on. Astronomy, the chronology of Genesis, 
the search for an elixir, the nature of the soul, were some 
of the subjects that engrossed them. Marlowe, the erst- 
while divinity student, entertained them with an c atheist 
lecture' in which he contended, among other things: 'That 
the Jndians and many Authors of antiquity haue assuredly 
writen of aboue 16 thowsand yeares agone whereas Adam 
is proued to haue lived within 6 thowsand yeares. . . . 
That Moyses made the Jewes to travell xl yeares in the 
wildernes, (which Jorney might haue bin done in lesse 
then one yeare) ere they Came to the promised land to 
thintent that those who were privy to most of his subtilties 
might perish and so an everlasting superstition Remain in 
the hartes of the people. . . . That the first beginning of 
Religioiin was only to keep men in awe.' 

He even bragged c That if he were put to write a new 
Religion, he would vndertake both a more Exellent and 
Admirable methode and that all the new testament is 
filthily written,' and recklessly went around saying c That 
Moyses was but a Jugler & that one Heriots being Sir W 
jRaleighs man Can do more then he.' 7 

no The Muses' Darling 

Part of this may have been self-justification for turning 
his back on divinity. Yet why Marlowe should have found 
it necessary to blurt such things out as he did all his life 
is a mystery. Was he unsure, and did he find in this a 
compensation for uncertainty? Or did he enjoy the peril- 
ous thrill of gazing on the abyss and seeing how far he 
could descend without hurtling down? For presently there 
were reports c Of Sir Walter Rawley's schoole of Atheisme 
by the waye, & of the Conjurer that is Master thereof, 
and of the diligence vsed to get yong gentlemen of this 
schoole, where in both Moyses, & our Sauior, the olde, and 
the new Testamente are iested at, and the schollers taughte 
amonge other thinges, to spell God backwarde^ 8 while 
Nashe sneered in print: 'I heare say there be Mathema- 
ticians abroad, that will proue men before Adam* 9 

It was no jesting matter when the authorities, spiritual 
and temporal, got wind of it. 


Marlowe's Mighty Line 1 


THEY are showing Doctor Faustus at the Rose thea- 
ter across the Thames in Southwark. By ferry, and 
by foot over London Bridge, the people throng to it 
as the preacher at PauPs Cross saith: 'Will not a filthy 
play, with the blast of a trumpet, sooner call thither a 
thousand, than an hour's tolling of a bell bring to the 
sermon a hundred?' 

A trumpet lifts the heart j a bell tolls gloom. The 
trumpeter at the Rose sends yellow slivers of sound pierc- 
ing into the air to announce that the show is on, and for a 
few minutes an intimate hurly-burly possesses the specta- 
tors as they troop to their places. The scene has been de- 
scribed thus: c ln our assemblies at plays in London, you 
shall see such heaving, and shoving, such itching and 
shouldering, to sit by women: such care for their gar- 
ments, that they be not trod on: such eyes to their laps, 
that no chips light in them: such pillows to their backs, 
that they get no hurt: such masking in their ears, I know 
not what: such giving them pippins to pass the time: such 
playing at foot-saunt without cards: such tickling, such' 
toying, such smiling, such winking, and such manning 




Hiftory of D. Fauftos. 

ithitb fane Aftedby the 

Hotwublc thcEarle cfNottiitgttam 
Written fey Ch, Mart. 


Marlowe's Mighty Line 113 

them home, when the sports are ended, that it is a right 
comedy to mark their behavior.' 2 

The Rose is a circular building on which a flag flutters 
to tell all who look in its direction that a performance is 
scheduled. Its stage, thrusting deep into the audience, is 
bare save for a table piled with folios. Garbed in a flow- 
ing university gown, Edward Alleyn enters. He is 
Faustus. The theater turns quiet. 

Alleyn is Faustus, but he is also Marlowe: Marlowe's 
persona. He begins his soliloquy in Cambridge terms, ask- 
ing aloud the questions Marlowe had asked himself a 
thousand times in the old storehouse chamber at Corpus 
Christi, until resolution came, until theology had been 
rejected for a life of authorship and with it the other 
faculties of the university: law, medicine and the liberal 

The merged divinity student Marlowe projected in 
Faustus begins to probe himself: 

Settle thy studies Faustus y and beginne 

To sound the deapth of that thou wilt professe: 

Hauing commencde, be a Diuine in shew, 

Yet leuell at the end of euery Art, 

And liue and die in Anstotles workes. 

We are back in the shadow of the Old Court, Corpus 
Christi, as Marlowe was in mood and memory when he 
wrote this, raising the warring factions of his mind to 
bring them to order again as he did in the crisis of 1587. 
Divinity is a lost cause} the other faculties offer little: 

H4 The Muses' Darling 

Is to dispute well, Logickes chiefest end, 

Affoords this Art no greater myracle? 

Then reade no more, thou hast attaind the end. 

He leaves the liberal arts to ponder the role of physi- 
cian, but mortality stands in the way of great achievement, 
and again he rejects a potential pursuit: 

Wouldst thou make man to liue eternally?' 
Or being dead, raise them to life againe? 
Then this profession were to be esteemed. 
Physicke farewell, where is lustinian? 

He calls up the person of the great lawgiver, only to 
decide that Law is 

A petty case of paltry legacies, 
and, as a profession, 

Too seruile and illiberall for me. 

He is back at the starting point, and once more, as of 
old, he must dispose of the profession for which his train- 
ing has fitted him: 

When all is done, Diuinitie is best. 
leromes Bible, Faustus y view it well. 
Stfyendium $eccati mors est: ha, Sttyendiumy &c. 
The reward of sinne is death: thats hard. 

Marlowe's Mighty Line 115 

He has come across something to give him pause 5 the 
jign that might keep him steadfast to his early vows is not 
vouchsafed him: 

If we say that we haue no sinne, 

We deceiue our selues, and theres no truth in vs. 

Why then belike 

We must sinne, and so consequently die. 

I, we must die an euerlasting death: 

What doctrine call you this, Che sera y sera y 

What wil be, shall be? Diuinitie, adieu. 

Thus far Marlowe, bringing to the Rose the echoes of 
old disputations in his mind. He had chosen authorship 5 
Faustus chooses magic. As Alleyn comes to the business 
of the play, the audience leans forward: 

Lines, circles, sceanes, letters and characters: 

I, these are those that Faustus most desires. 

O what a world of profit and delight, 

Of power, of honor, of omnipotence 

Is promised to the studious Artizan? 

All things that mooue betweene the quiet poles. 


Wagging finger, gaping mouth all the pious palaver 
that the Dark Ages had added to this story of a man's 
compact with the devil, of which every town and hamlet 
in Europe had its didactic example, is about to be swept 

n 6 The Muses' Darling 

aside by one who has no moral to point, no sermon to 
preach; whose business is poetry, not the putative salva- 
tion of souls. Now, for the first time since he was con- 
jured out of cringing speech, Faustus is a hero to his crea- 
tor, and the play about him, clad in the splendor of Mar- 
lowe's verse, glows against the medieval night. Alleyn's 
audience has sharp, attentive ears for the rapturous lines: 
it is a simpler day than ours, and a simpler folk that 

Faustus is resolved: 

Tis Magicke, Magicke that hath rauisht mee. 

He consults two famous dabblers in the forbidden art, 
and is promised, if he is resolute, dominion over 'the sub- 
iects of euery element': 

Like Lyons shall they guard vs when we please, 
Like Almaine Rutters with their horsemens staues, 
Or Lapland Gyants trotting by our sides 

(as Marlowe wrote this, two lines from Tambwlaine came 
back to him 

So lookes my Loue, shadowing in her browes 
Triumphes and Trophees for my victories, 

to be miraculously transformed to, 

Sometimes like women, or vnwedded maides, 
Shadowing more beautie in their ayrie browes, 
Then haue the white breasts of the queene of Loue.) 

Marlowe's Mighty Line 
Thus flattered, Faustus replies: 

ere I sleepe He trie what I can do, 
This night He coniure though I die therefore. 


'Alley* As Faustus, Devil As Devil 

There is an edition of the play, the title-page of which! 
is adorned with a woodcut showing Faustus on the stage 

The Muses 9 Darling 

in a magician's circle, conjuring book in one hand, a staff 
in the other, and a devil beginning to rise through the 
trapdoor at his words: 

Within this circle is lehouahs name, 
Forward and backward anagrammatiz'd 
The breuiated names of holy Saints, 
Figures of euery adiunct to the heauens, 
And characters of signes and erring starres. 

There is a thunderclap} out of terror and darkness the 
first devil appears, and Faustus starts back, exclaiming: 

I charge thee to returne and chaunge thy shape, 
Thou art too vgly to attend on me. 

Mephistopheles is more subtle} he enters next, and with 
him Faustus disputes as he would with a fellow scholar, 
in dialogue reminiscent of the parleys between Job and 
Elihu, and Job and the Lord, in the Old Testament. 

Their disputation ends on a sublime philosophical note: 

Where are you damn'd? 

In hell. 

How comes it then that thou art out 

Why this is hel, nor am I out of it. 

Marlowe's Mighty Line 119 

The twenty-four years of his compact have run their 
course. He has performed notable feats, and he has con- 
versed with the high, illustrious dead. But it has not been 
smugness in his heart and quiet in his mind, as perhaps it 
was not in Marlowe's. His latest creator has molded 
Faustus in his own image: 

I do repent, and yet I do dispaire: 

Hell striues with grace for conquest in my breast, 

What shal I do to shun the snares of death? 

These thoughts arouse the ire of Mephistophelesj 
Faustus pleads for pardon and a final boon: 

One thing, good seruant, let me craue of thee, 
To glut the longing of my hearts desire, 
That I might haue vnto my paramour, 
That heauenly Helen which I saw of late. 

It is the executioner's grant to the doomed prisoner: 

Enter Helen. 

Was this the face that lancht a thousand shippes? 
And burnt the toplesse Towres of Ilium? 
Sweete Helen, make me immortall with a kisse: 
Her lips sucke forth my soule, see where it flies: 
Come Helen, come giue mee my soule againe. 

I2O The Muses' Darling 

Here wil I dwel, for heauen be in these lips, 
And all is drosse that is not Helena. 

Like Marlowe in the fleet, fused moments when he 
wrote this, Faustus has regained his lost heaven in Helen's 
beauty, and he is loath to leave off praising the radiance 
which has sublimated him, for darkness and doom wait at 
the end. The music rises and beats with a more passionate 
accent 5 it is the ancient and immortal lyric voice of man 
proffering worlds to Beauty's Queen: 

I wil be Paris y and for loue of thee, 
Insteede of Troy shal Wertenberge be sackt, 
And I wil combate with weake Menel<w,s y 
And weare thy colours on my plumed Crest: 
Yea I wil wound A chillis in the heele, 
And then returne to Helen for a kisse. 

And still the 'quenchles fire' of Marlowe's protagonist 
blazes forth to light the depths of the Rose with mystical 

O thou art fairer then the euening aire, 
Clad in the beauty of a thousand starres, 
Brighter art thou then flaming Iupter y 
When he appeared to haplesse Semele, 
More louely then the monarke of the skie 
In wanton Arethusaes azurde armes. 

It is the quintessence of worship and praise, the ulti- 
mate homage to the ideal of sacred and profane love that 

Marlowe's Mighty Line 121 

through all ages has made men fare forth lonely, on horse 
and on foot, to seek out beauty under the sky and in the 
beautiful cities of the world. It is the burden of their 
verse Milton's 

With thee conversing I forget all time 

(and the Lady of Christ's College learned much and took 
much from Marlowe's blank verse) j and 

Though the whole world run rack 

And go dark with cloud, 

Light is 

Where she stands, 

by Cerclamonj 8 and John Lydgate's 

Queene of Heaven, of Hell eke Emperess, 
Lady of this world, O very Lodestar, 

echoed in Villon's 

Dame du ciel, regente terrienne, 
Emperiere des inf ernaux palus. 

It is Jonson's 

The world may find the spring by following her, 
and Camnion's 

122 The Muses* Darling 

Follow your saint, follow with accents sweet \, 
Haste you, sad notes, fall at her flying feet! 

and Donne's 

By our first strange and fatal interview, 
By all desires which thereof did ensue 

the brief, yet immortal grace conferred by love on men 
and monumented in their song, the bright words flashing 
like larks against encompassing night. 

To the spectators at the Rose, it is the interlude before 
annihilation. Terror waits offstage, and they know and 
fear it. The doom brought upon Faustus by his own deed 
is swift and implacable, but it is shadowed forth by Mar- 
lowe in human terms, not vindictive moralizing the 
modern man is speaking from the medieval maze. 

For the last time Faustus meets his fellow scholars. A 
sigh is his salutation j their words create the mood: 

Ah Gentlemen! 
What ailes Faustus? 

Ah my sweete chamber-fellow! had I liued witfi thee, 
then had I liued stil, but now I die eternally: looke, 
comes he not? comes he not? 

Marlowe's, Mighty Line 123 

Remembrances of things past, regrets and despair, well 
up in him. He tells his story, and their hearts leap with 
the rabbit Terror. The scholars depart, leaving Faustus 
alone with his fate. Expectation hushes the Rose 5 the lone 
figure on the stage is silent. Suddenly: 'The do eke strikes 
eleauen? It is the peal of doom. The death agony begins: 

Ah Faustus, 

Now hast thou but one bare hower to Hue, 
And then thou must be damnd perpetually: 
Stand stil you euer moouing spheres of heauen, 
That time may cease, and midnight neuer come: 
Faire Natures eie, rise, rise againe, and make 
Perpetuall day, or let this houre be but 
A yeere, a moneth, a weeke, a naturall day, 
That Faustus may repent, and saue his soule, 
O lento} lente curite noctis equi 

it is a line remembered from Ovid in the lonely storehouse 
chamber long ago, the cry of the lover in Corinna's arms 
<O slowly, slowly gallop, horses of the night' the plea 
of the hour of joy in the hour of doom. But relentlessly: 

The starres mooue stil, time runs, the clocke wil strike, 
The diuel wil come, and Faustus must be damned. 

Alleyn, alone on the stage, as in the beginning, is now 
a magician of harmonies, uttering the broken rhythms of 
Marlowe's verse to crowd an hour's agony into fifty-nine 

124 The Muses* Darling 

O He leape vp to my God: who pulles me downe? 
See see where Christs blood streams in the firmament. 
One drop would saue my soule, halfe a drop, ah my 


Ah rend not my heart for naming of my Christ, 
Yet wil I call on him: oh spare me Lucifer! 

The clock strikes 5 there is thunder and lightning; the 
devils enter to bear him away: 

Adders, and Serpents, let me breathe a while: 
Vgly hell gape not, come not Lucifer , 
He burne my bookes, ah Mephastophilis* 

The play is done. In the balcony, gentlemen and their 
ladies set their hats atilt, ruffs are smoothed out, cloaks 
fastened. Below, the groundlings begin to mill and stream 
forth, bound for Bankside wharves where the watermen 
wait, bound for London Bridge and the city and the work- 
aday world, their awed whispers starting the legend of 
Satan himself appearing in the midst of devils capering 
excitedly on the stage. Past the houses of prostitution in 
fee to the Bishop of Winchester, past the waterside epis- 
copal palace called Winchester House, they make their 
way, but not boisterously as is their wont after a perform- 
ance. Behind them, in the emptying Rose, Henslowe com- 
putes his profits. 


Marlowe's Table Talk 

DOCTOR FAUSTUS marks the flood tide of Mar- 
lowe's genius. Whether he lived to write more, 
or died at twenty-six, the light of glory would lie upon 
the pages of his work forever. Now, for a certainty, it 
could be said, 

his raptures were 
All ayre, and firej 

progressively, from his school-day translations to Tarn- 
burlaine y from Tamburlaine to Doctor Faustus, his verse 
had grown in subtlety and power until, by the end of 
1590, no other writer's work could compare with his for 
vision and splendor of diction. He had created a master- 
piece, the lot of few makers. 

Had this triumph marked the end of his career, or of 
our knowledge of his life, our vision of him would have 
been a more dazzling one. It was not to be. Another side 
of Marlowe, irreconcilable with our earlier concepts, 
presents itself by the following yean 

In 1591, Marlowe was sharing a chamber in London 
with Thomas Kyd. What month it was, what season of 


126 The Muses' Darling 

the year, or how long their association lasted, we do not 
know, for that is the way of Marlowe's life 5 but we may 
assume, from the circumstances, that the two men were 
writing for the same theatrical company. What Marlowe's 
play was is another matter perhaps The Jew of Malta y 
which fits this period in his development and shows the 
marks of a second, less skillful, more sensational hand: I 
think Kyd's. But all that can be said with certainty is that 
they were working together some time in 1591 5 we know 
this because Kyd, in trouble in 1593, found it necessary 
to hark back to Marlowe and this 'occasion of our wrytinge 
in one chamber twoe yeares synced 

Kyd, in 1591, was in the service of a pious nobleman 
who was also the patron of a company of actors. He is 
otherwise unidentified. The Admiral's men, for whom 
Marlowe had been writing, appear to have joined fprces, 
or merged, at this time with Lord Strange's men. Since it 
was Lord Strange's company that produced both The 
Spanish Tragedie and The Jew of Malta significant con- 
junction I assume Ferdinando Stanley, Lord Strange, to 
have been the man. 1 If Marlowe was in his employ at this 
time, it was merely as a writer for his company. Kyd's 
position seems to have been different} he was a member 
of his master's household, perhaps as secretary to his lord- 

This much we learn from the two records Kyd has left 
of his unhappy association with Marlowe. Although the 
records belong to the year 1593, w ^en Kyd was on the 
threshold of oblivion, both refer to the period of writing 
together in 1591, when Marlowe entered his life. How 

Marlowe's Table Talk 127 

did Marlowe, Marlowe the famous progenitor of Faustus 
and Tamburlaine, appear to Kyd at that time? The dim 
portrait of our author is about to darken. In the deposi- 
tions of Kyd we have a view of Marlowe such as we do 
not otherwise possess, a portrait that comes to life through 
speech and characterization, done with all the cunning of 
a dramatist who has lived on intimate terms with his sub- 
ject; through Kyd, we seem to hear Marlowe speak. That 
the things he quotes Marlowe as uttering are not pleasant 
to hear is another matter. One, at least, must have been 
droll in the tellingj but the humor, like the ink with 
which it was written, has somewhat faded: 'ffirst it was his 
custom when I knewe him first & as I heare saie he con- 
tynewd it in table talk or otherwise to iest at the devine 
scriptures gybe at praiers, & stryve in argument to frus- 
trate & confute what hath byn spoke or wrytt by prophets 
& such holie menn. 

*i. He would report St John to be our savior Christes 
'Alexis I cover it with reverence and trembling that is that 
Christ did loue him with an extraordinary loue. 

<2. That for me to wryte a poem of St paules conver- 
sion as I was determined he said wold be as if I shold go 
wryte a book of fast & loose, esteeming Paul a Jugler. 

*3. That the prodigall Childes portion was but fower 
nobles, he held his purse so neere the bottom in all pic- 
tures, and that it either was a iest or els fowr nobles then 
was thought a great patrimony not thinking it a parable. 

'4. That things esteemed to be donn by devine power 
might haue aswell been don by observation of men all 
which he wold so sodenlie take slight occasion to slyp out 

128 The Muses* Darling 

as I & many others in regard of his other rashnes in at- 
tempting soden pryvie iniuries to men did ouerslypp thogh 
often reprehend him for it & for which god is myi witnes 
asweli by my lordes comaundment as in hatred of his life 
& thoughts I left & did refraine his companie.' 2 

Even in the indirect quotation, the turn of phrase that 
was Marlowe's breaks through. His rebuff to Kyd, who 
piously proposed to write a poem on St. Paul, recalls his 
earlier outburst concerning the Rev. Richard Harvey, in 
Nashe's memorandum. Marlowe was intolerant; he was 
also reckless. Perhaps he felt secure, in the circles in which 
he was a noted figure, from the hounding of the religious 
who stood, vigilant and limned in flame, on the margin 
of men's thoughts. As for his 'other rashnes in attempting 
soden pryvie iniuries to men' what can this mean but 
that Marlowe, losing his temper, lashed out in rage with 
fists instead of words? It is not pretty. 

Kyd leaves no doubt of his distate; and he has managed 
to characterize himself, too. Less spirited than his fellow 
writer; less brilliant, less inspired; outwardly circumspect 
and pious, Kyd reports his association with Marlowe as a 
cruel and humiliating experience. There is an unhappy 
ring to his indictment which is convincing. They came to- 
gether without friendship, and parted with hatred at 
least, on Kyd's side. Kyd never forgave his chamber fel- 
low for what he was made to endure. Worse, when he 
thought it might be useful to him in his dire need two 
years later, he set his complaints (and accusations) down 
he blabbed and calumniated. 

The two men might have talked occasionally about the 

Marlowe? s Table Talk 129 

poetry of their time, the theater, the merits of contempo- 
raries the youth from Stratford, for example 5 but if they 
did, Kyd does not mention it. He might have left such a 
record of Marlowe as Drummond left of Jonson, as Jon- 
son and Fuller left of Shakespeare. His experience made 
it impossible. 

Much may be forgiven him. When, in 1593, soul 
shaken, broken by torture, blinded by bitterness, he lashed 
out at Marlowe, the impress of their association was still 
almost more than he could bear, even in recollection. The 
second of his two records belongs to that part of the story, 
and it will be found there. 

It was early in 1592 that The Jew of Malta was pre- 
sented at the Rose by Lord Strangers men, with Edward 
Alleyn in the title role. The company's repertory included 
Kyd's Spanish Tragedie, Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar 
Bwngay, and the First Part of Henry VI. 

For this production of The Jew, in the purlieus of 
Southwark, Marlowe wrote a Prologue, spoken by the 
spirit of Machiavelli, which contains a passage that ap- 
pears to be autobiographical. It is possible that it refers to 
his recent association with Kyd, although he had ill-wish- 
ers enough to choose from for a retort from the stage; 
considering Greene's early attack on him, and his subse- 
quent imitation of Marlowe's work, the passage might 
apply to Greene as well as to Kyd: 

130 The Muses' Darling 

To some perhaps my name is odious, 

But such as loue me, gard me from their tongues, 

And let them know that I am Machemlly 

And weigh not men, and therefore not mens words: 

Admir'd I am of those that hate me most. 

Though some speake openly against my bookes, 

Yet will they reade me. 

This contained a double boast. // Princfye of Machia- 
velli was being read in England if Marlowe did not 
know Italian, he appears nevertheless to have picked up 
much of the Italian's matter in conversation and the 
Prologue was a convenient way of showing his familiarity 
with it. 

The idea for Marlowe's play might have been sug- 
gested by the story of a Portuguese Jew who fled from 
persecution in Europe to the court of the Sultan Selim in 
Constantinople. 3 He was a member of the famous Nassi 
family, converts to Christianity who in their own hearts 
and homes nourished the flickering flame of Judaism with 
their sufferings. As a governor and administrator under 
the Sultan, Nassi prospered, becoming at length Duke of 
Naxos and the Cyclades Naxos, isle of fruit and wine, 
and all those islands set like jewels in the Mediterranean 
on the flank of Asia Minor's thrust towards Europe. So 
powerful did he become that he even coined his own 
money, inscribed 'Josephus Naci Dei Gratia Dux Pelag? 
*by the grace of God Duke of the Archipelago.' But 
even when we learn that Nassi brought about the Turkish 
attack on Cyprus in 1570, the resemblance between him 

1 32 The Muses* Darling 

and Barabas of Malta remains ephemeral. The Jew 
shadowed forth by Marlowe, on whom Shakespeare after- 
ward modeled his Shylock, is an intense and sympathetic 
characterization. The language of Barabas, from the open- 
ing soliloquy until he becomes a caricature under another 
writer's recasting, is full of dignity and poetry, embodying 
Marlowe's never-ebbing delight in fabulous enterprise. 
His Jew talks like a rich Renaissance merchant whose 
ships toss in the waters of the world ; the trade winds 
blow through his words, bright with the jewels of place- 
names, strong with the opulence and power of 

Infinite riches in a little roome. 

When Barabas speaks for his race, Marlowe's anti- 
clerical attitude helps him: 

Who hateth me but for my happinesse? 

Or who is honoured now but for his wealth? 

Rather had I a lew be hated thus, 

Then pittied in a Christian pouerty: 

For I can see no fruits in all their faith, 

But malice, falshood, and excessiue pride. 

To probe the depths of the Jewish character, Marlowe 
returned to the Old Testament, translating the somber 
prose of the Book of Job into solemn iambics for aifflicted 
Barabas. Thus, <Iob opened his mouthe, and cursed his 
day. And lob cryed out, and said, Let the daye perish, 
wherein I was borne, and the night when it was said, 

Marlowe's Table Talk 133 

There is a manchilde conceiued. Let yt day be darknes/ 
becomes in the Jew of Malta: 

but I may curse the day, 
Thy fatall birth-day, forlorne Bar abas; 
And henceforth wish for an eternall night, 
That clouds of darkenesse may inclose my flesh j 

and the three Jews who turn to Barabas in their common 
peril are the three Job-comforters of the Bible drama- 

Over all is the moral burden from the pages of the Old 
Testament, epitomized by Barabas in a single line: 

The man that dealeth righteously shall Hue 


a concept which Marlowe had himself expressed earlier 
(in Tamburlaine) as 

Vertue solely is the sum of glorie. 

There is a later play that ranks higher in the canon of 
Marlowe's works, but none shows better how he might 
have developed, how mature his thoughts and emotion 
could become, than this one, fragmentary and garbled as 
it is in the version we possess. For there is more here than 
mere anticlericalism. There is the deep humanity of the 
true genius, such as we find in Shakespeare. For Marlowe, 
no less than Shakespeare, despite deep-rooted antagonisms, 
was concerned with the disparity between Christian pre- 

134 The Muses 9 Darling 

cept? ancTchristian practice religious wars, and piety 
serving pillage: 

'What? bring you Scripture to confirm your wrongs? 

I have referred to a fumbling, sensational hand present 
in the text of Marlowe's play. There is no other way to 
account for the sudden change from drama to melodrama 
which finally overwhelms the structure of The Jew of 
Malta, as rising waters might first flood, then submerge a 
pillared edifice. Marlowe leaves Barabas noble in advers- 
ity, looking to heaven to right his wrongs 

Oh thou that with a fiery piller led'st 

The sonnes of Israel through the dismall shades, 

Light Abrahams off-spring 

while another brings him back a monster of revenge who 

I walke abroad a nights 
And kill sicke people groaning under walls: 
Sometimes I goe about and poyson wells 

the opening of a long catalogue of crimes in the somber 
rhythms of The Spanish Tragedie. The conjecture is ir- 
resistable that Marlowe was dismissed by Lord Strange 
after his opinions became known j and as the play he was 
working on was the property of Strange's company, he 
left it behind, unfinished, when his employment ceased. 

Marlowe?* Table Talk 135 

The memory of Marlowe, as much as of Marlowe's 
Jew, moved Shakespeare when he penned The Merchant 
of Venice. That sweet song, sung whilst Bassanio com- 
ments on the caskets, and indeed the whole scene in which 
it is imbedded, is full of the imagery and rhythms of Hero 
and Leander; while in an earlier scene Shakespeare trans- 
forms his Prince of Morocco into a Tamburlaine: 

The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds 
Of wide Arabia are as thoroughfares now 
For princes to come view fair Portia: 
The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head 
Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar 
To stop the foreign spirits, but they come, 
As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia. 

The resemblances between Barabas and Shylock, their 
daughters Abigail and Jessica 5 Marlowe's c Oh my girle, 
my gold/ and Shakespeare's 'My daughter! O my 
ducats!'} the daughters' Christian lovers, and, finally, 

But stay, what starre shines yonder in the East? 
The Loadstarre of my life, if Abigall y 

remembered for Romeo: 

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? 
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun, 

are perhaps too well known for further comment. 

136 The Muses' Darling 

The play ran intermittently at the Rose from 1592 to 
1596, with a revival in 1601, and exceeded by eleven per- 
formances the representations of Dr. Fcwstus. No six- 
teenth century edition has come down to us, although the 
Stationers' Register reveals that the famouse tregedie of 
the Riche Jewe of Malta was entered for publication May 
17, 1594, a year after Marlowe's death. Fire and water, 
fishmongers and trunk-makers, apparently did for it. 


Marlowe and the Constables 


R DARING drunkenly homeward in the month of 
May, 1592, Christopher Marlowe collided with 
Allen Nicholls, constable of Shoreditch, and Nicholas 
Helliot, under-constable. Perhaps he assaulted them, thus 
confirming Kyd's accusation about Marlowe's 'rashnes in 
attempting soden pryvie iniuries to men.' Frowsy heads 
of queans popped from the doors and windows of Holy- 
well Street behind them, peering hard, their soldier or 
actor clients. They saw the celebrated poet in the toils o 
the law again. 

But if this is not what happened, what was it? For once 
again, with Marlowe in trouble, we get some trace of him. 
Somewhere in the dusty Elizabethan records there may 
be a sequel $ but it could not have been a serious one, 
albeit for the moment he is once more under arrest. 

Sir Owen Hopton, Justice and Lieutenant of the Tower, 
looks up and meets the eyes of an old acquaintance. He 
listens to the complaints of the constables, and prepares 
the usual formula for the courts. Recollecting that in three 
years Marlowe has progressed from suspicion of murder 
to disorderly conduct, he may have considered wryly that 
the young man who stands before him is virtually on the 


138 The Muses' Darling 

road to respectability. Nevertheless, the charge is suffi- 
ciently grave, and the forms must be observed. 

Therefore he gives the prisoner a talking to and ex- 
tracts a promise: 'Middlesex ss. Memorandum that on the 
IX th day of May, 1592, the xxxiiij^ 1 Year of the Reign of 
our lady Elizabeth Now &c, there appeared before me, 
Owen Hopton, Knight, one of the Justices of the said lady 
Queen, assigned to Keep the peace in the aforesaid county, 
Christopher Marie of London, gentleman, and acknowl- 
edged that he owed the said lady Queen xx pounds in 
good and lawful English money: Upon Condition that he 
will personally appear at the next general Session of the 
peace held in and for the aforesaid county: and mean- 
while will keep the peace towards the whole people of 
the said lady Queen and especially towards Allen 
Nicholls, Constable, of Hollowwellstreet in the aforesaid 
county, and Nicholas Helliott, underconstable of the same: 
Which sum aforesaid he permits to be raised for the use 
of the said lady Queen in the form of a Recognizance, 
from his goods, and Chattle lands and tenements If he 
should fail in his promise.' l 

Marlowe is twenty-eight, and promises are as easy to 
hand out as money for the pleasures of this world. The 
next General Sessions, at which he is to appear, are five 
months distant, an eternity. The constables are appeased, 
and Marlowe bids them and Sir Owen adieu. Sober now 
soberer, in any case he strolls back to his lodgings, 
eager to recount the adventure to his friend. 

There are shrieks of laughter at the discomfiture of the 
police, and perhaps additional merriment in the account 

Marlowe and the Constables 139 

Marlowe has brought back of Sir Owen Hopton, whom 
Watson also has met. 


Marlowe, at this time, among other affairs, was occu- 
pied with a play which has reached posterity in a sad state 
of garble, The Massacre at Paris: With the Death of the 
Duke of Guise. 

The Guise, as Henslowe labeled it in his wretched diary 
scrawl, fits the Marlovian pattern of a protagonist with an 
aspiring mind. Across the Channel, the journey of a day, 
the clock went back a century or more and still does in 
that brief, perilous crossing} and there, within the walls 
of Paris, he depicted the monster of his youth who had 
filled Canterbury with Protestant refugees telling and re- 
telling the story of St. Bartholomew's Eve. England, like 
Walsingham, had never forgotten. The results, outside of 
France, were like those of the Nazi excesses, of more re- 
cent memory. The English wanted the Treaty of Blois 
torn up and the French ambassador driven out. For weeks 
after the massacre Elizabeth refused him an audience, and 
when he finally was admitted to her presence, he found 
the entire court dressed in mourning. Like the apologists 
for Hitler, he dwelt on the necessity of swift, ruthless ac- 
tion in defense of the realm, and mumbled, distraught 
and embarrassed under the freezing stare of the Protestant 
queen, about ungovernable mob fury, as though it had 
been a spontaneous outbreak that had almost annihilated 
a religious minority. 




With the Death of the Duke 


Asicwasplaide by the right honourable the 
high <^f4ntiraU his Servants. 

Written by Cbriftopker 


the little North doore thefigpe of 

Marlowe and the Constables 141 

At the table of Thomas Walsingham, Marlowe would 
have heard much about the haughty duke whose private 
army menaced his sovereign and who, save for differ- 
ences of birth, looms in the twentieth century mind as a 
Renaissance Hitler: 

Guise, weare our crowne, and be thou King of France, 
And as Dictator make or warre or peace, 
Whilst I cry placet like a Senator, 

Henry exclaims. And like all the others in Marlowe's 
canon, the chief actor mounts in his hour of somber glory 
only to fall at the end. Now he sounds the tocsin of 

Oft haue I leueld, and at last haue learned, 
That perill is the cheef est way to happines, 
And resolution honors fairest aime. 

It is the voice of the superman, 'live dangerously,' who 
uses religion to further his own ends, and whose denomin- 
ational leadership is a device of policy. It is Guise who 
utters Marlowe's antireligious credo it was safe: 

Religion: Diabole. 

Fye, I am ashamde, how euer that I seeme, 

To think a word of such a simple sound 

Of so great matter should be made the ground 

Indeed, in this play, more than elsewhere in his extant 
writings, Marlowe's antireligious fury sweeps the stage 

142 The Muses* Darling 

like a whirlwind. With bolder strokes he projects the plot- 
ters of St. Bartholomew's Eve to hold the horror-stricken 
gaze of his English audience while he dins into English 
ears his scorn of popery, i.e., religion. And, recalling the 
rumors that went the rounds when he absented himself 
from Cambridge five years before, rumors that had him 
seeking sanctuary in Rheims or Rome, he takes this occa- 
sion to even matters up. 

The horrors of the massacre that choked the Seine with 
corpses are occasionally relieved by Marlowe's humor 
grim, but effective. Thus, when Ramus, professor of logic 
at the Sorbonne, falls into the hands of Guise and his 
bigots, they have a disputation: 

Wherein hath Ramus been so offencious? 
the cringing professor asks, and Guise replies: 

Marry sir, in hauing a smack in all, 

And yet didst neuer sound anything to the depth. 

Was it not thou that scoftes the Organon, 

And said it was a heape of vanities? 

He that will be a flat dicotamest, 

And seen in nothing but Epitomies: 

Is in your Judgment thought a learned man. 

And he forsooth must goe and preach in Germany: 

Excepting against Doctors axioms, 

And ifse dixi with this quidditie, 

Argwnentum testimony, est inartificiale. 

To contradict which, I say Ramus shall dye. 

Marlowe and the Constables 143 

(It is a bit like Book II, Chap. VI, in Rabelais, when 
Pantagruel met with a Limosin, who affected to speak in 
learned phrase: 'My friend, from whence comest thou 
now? The scholar answered him, from the alme y inclyte 
and celebrate academy, which is vocitated Lutetia. What is 
the meaning of this? said Pantagruel to one of his men. 5 ) 

Perhaps because this play has come down to us in so 
wretchedly garbled a version as to be but a skeleton of the 
thing Marlowe intended, those good passages in it seem 
somehow enhanced in our eyes, and his selection of images, 
his choice of action on the stage to make those images 
vivid, appear masterly. Witness the following: 

Guise. My Lord of Anioy, there are a hundred 


Which we haue chaste into the riuer Sene, 
That swim about and so preserue their Hues: 
How may we doe? I feare me they will Hue. 
Dumaine. Goe place some men vpon the bridge, 
With bowes and dartes to shoot at them they see 3 
And sinke them in the riuer as they swim. 

Again, c fiue or sixe Protestants with bookes' kneel on 
the stage in a huddle of terror. Guise enters with his mur- 
derous followers, and the scene is like a lightning flash 
upon an event fast fading into history. It is the poet's art 
of imagery transferred to the stage and there projected as 

144 The Muses' Darling 

drama. And because Marlowe knew that even the soul of 
a villain can be shaken, he brings his audience into the 
household of the Duke to strike at his heart and hearth: 

Guise. What, all alone my loue, and writing too: 

I prethee say to whome thou writest? 

Duck. To such a one my Lord, as when she reads 

My lines, 

Will laugh I f eare me at their good aray. 

But he feels the horns of the cuckold sprouting from 
his brow. 

Guise. I pray thee let me see. 

Duck. O no my Lord, a woman only must 

Partake the secrets of my heart. 

Guise. But Madam I must see. He takes it. 

Are these your secrets that no man must know?. 

Duch. O pardon me my Lord. 

Thus is ambitious Guise characterized in life. His death 
sets the pattern for Edward 11 and ultimately for 

Guise. Villaine, why dost thou look so ghastly? 


Mur. O pardon me my Lord of Guise. 
Guise. Pardon thee, why what hast thou done? 
Mur. O my Lord, I am one of them that is set 

to murder you. 

Marlowe and the Constables 145 

Guise. To murder me villaine? 

Mur. I my Lord, the rest haue taine their standings 

in the next roome, therefore good my Lord goe 

not foorth. 

Guise. Yet Caesar shall goe forth. 
Let mean consaits, and baser men f eare death, 
But they are pesants, 7 am Duke of Guise: 
And princes with their lookes ingender f eare. 

Nevertheless, he is stabbed. 

Now Henry exclaims (in Marlowe's patriotic vein, use- 
ful in settling an old score) : 

I nere was King of France vntill this houre: 

This is the traitor that hath spent my golde 

In making f orraine warres and ciuil broiles. 

Did he not draw a sorte of English priestes 

From Doway to the Seminary at Remes, 

To hatch forth treason gainst their naturall Queene? 

Only Marlowe could have made a Catholic monarch 
express such sentiments. He, too, could use religion as a 
device of policy. 


Marlowe Dedicates a Book 


IN AUGUST, 1592, the plague broke out, closing the 
playhouses and sending the companies into the pro- 
vinces. The following month Robert Greene died, and his 
death created as much of a stir as his miserable life, 
bringing the scandalmongers buzzing to his grave and 
the protests of Marlowe and Shakespeare against his final 

In October, when the Michaelmas Sessions of the Peace 
were held, at which Marlowe was to appear on his recog- 
nizance, the poet failed to show up; at least, there is no 
record that he did. If he left London while the plague 
was raging, it would have been 'difficult to collect the 
twenty pounds for which he was liable as a result of his 
encounter with the constables. He carried his worldly 
possessions in his mind, on his back and in his pockets. 

By November, his friend Watson also was dead, leav- 
ing for the press a book entitled Ammtae Gaudia, and a 
request that it be dedicated to the Countess of Pembroke. 

To this loving task Marlowe set himself, writing in 
Latin <To the Most Illustrious Noble Lady, adorned with 
all gifts both of mind and body, Mary Countess of Pem- 
broke.' As the only Dedication by him that has come down 


'Marlowe Dedicates a Book 147 

to us, it assumes a unique place in the canon o his works, 
and I give it here: 

'Delia born o a laurel-crowned race, true sister of Sid- 
ney the bard of Apollo 5 fostering parent of letters, to 
whose immaculate embrace virtue, outraged by the assault 
of barbarism and ignorance, flieth for refuge, as once 
Philomela from the Thracian tyrant} Muse of the Poets 
of our time, and of all most happily burgeoning wits 5 
descendant of the gods, who impartest now to my rude 
pen breathings of a lofty rage, whereby my poor self hath, 
methinks, power to surpass what my unripe talent is wont 
to bring forth: Deign to be patron to this posthumous 
Amyntas, as to thine adoptive son: the rather that his 
dying father had most humbly bequeathed to thee his 
keeping. And though thy glorious name is spread abroad 
not only among us but even among foreign nations, too far 
ever to be destroyed by the rusty antiquity of Time, or 
added to by the praise of mortals (for how can anything 
be greater than what is infinite?), yet, crowned as thou 
art by the songs of many as by a starry diadem Ariadne, 
scorn not this pure priest of Phoebus bestowing another 
star upon thy crown: but with that sincerity of mind 
which Jove the father of men and of gods hath linked as 
hereditary to thy noble family, receive and watch over 
him. So shall I, whose slender wealth is but the seashore 
myrtle of Venus, and Daphne's evergreen laurel, on the 
foremost page of every poem invoke thee as Mistress of 
the Muses to my aid: to sum up all, thy virtue, which shall 
overcome virtue herself, shall likewise overcome even 

148 The Muses' Darling 

'Most desirous to do thee honor, CM.' 1 
It is very learned and very pretty. Despite his fervent 
declaration, no poem of his invokes the Countess as 'Mis- 
tress of the Muses' or bears her name, although he might 
have dedicated Hero and Leander to her if he had lived j 
but he did insert a compliment to her in Edward II. 

This was the lady whom the poets vied to honor with 
verse and dedication, the Delia of Samuel Daniel's son- 
nets, at whose death William Browne of Tavistock wrote 
his monumental praise: 

Underneath this sable herse 
Lies the subject of all verse: 
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother": 
Death, ere thou hast slain another 
Fair and learn'd and good as she, 
Time shall throw a dart at thee. 

Aubrey described her thus: *She was a beautiful Ladie 
and had an excellent witt, and had the best breeding that 
that age could afford. She had a pritty sharpe-ovall face. 
Her haire was of a reddish yellow.' What else he adds is 
scandalous, which gives Marlowe's praise of her virtue a 
sardonic sound. 


The death of Thomas Watson, the death* of Greene, 
did not go unnoticed. The tribute of dramatic exequies 
was to be theirs Thomas Nashe, the friend of both, saw 

Marlowe Dedicates a Book 149 

to that. But the year that marked the breaking up of the 
writers' cluster was a plague year. The end of two literary 
men counted for nought in a city where thousands cowered 
behind bolted doors as the carts of the heaped dead wound 
pyreward through pestilent streets. The metropolis was 
beleaguered by death. 'Lord, have mercy upon us' was the 
salutation of citizens, the refrain of preachers. Terror took 

From terror, courage; from horror, beauty. Past the 
hideous cowled skeleton and hooded skull, image of the 
plague, the vision of man's brief, bitter, earthbound des- 
tiny came to Nashe, in strayed music to haunt the meadow 
death had scythed: 

Beauty is but a flowre, 
Which wrinckles will deuoure, 
Brightnesse falls from the ayre, 
Queenes haue died yong and f aire, 
Dust hath closde Helens eye. 
I am sick, I must dye: 
Lord, haue mercy on vs. 

The poem is the jewel of Svmmers Last Will and 
Testament, the only dramatic work of Nashe's presumed 
many that has escaped the ravages of time, pestilence and 
fire. Completion of the play found him a pamphleteer 
again, and squirting Gabriel Harvey black with ink 
Have With Yov to Safron-W alden is his scoffing title. 

In it he salutes Watson's memory: *A man he was that 
J dearely lou'd and honor'd, and for all things hath left 

150 The Muses' Darling 

few his equalls in England ' and then tfie pattern of his 
prose reappears, praise for the friend and a sharp thrust 
at the foe: 'he it was that in the company of diuers Gentle- 
men one night at supper at the Nags head in Chea$e; first 
told me of his vanitie, and those Hexameters made of him, 

But o what newes of that good Gabriell Haruey, 
Knowne to the world for a foole and daft in the Fleet 
"for a Rimer* 

Despite the profusion of pronouns, it was clear enough 
in Nashe's context particularly to Harvey, who later 
denied that he had ever been arrested 5 but this paid him 
back, in part, for his notions about versification, and for his 
temerity in mixing with professional writers. We can, of 
course, imagine Marlowe in similar settings, similar com- 
pany, over supper in Cheapside taverns. 

As for Harvey himself, we are about to get news of 
him, for he is in the metropolis on business. Harvey is 
not easy to understand. It is strange to find him, a gentle- 
man and Fellow of Pembroke Hall, Spenser's particular 
friend and the friend of courtiers, scholars and ecclesias- 
tics, bandying words with the University wits in London. 
Barred from their society, the butt of their jokes and 
sarcasms for being a pedant and prig, Harvey neverthe- 
less found his greatest delight in writing about them and 
forcing his presence on them bdividuallyj it was prob- 

'Marlowe Dedicates a Book 151 

ably risky to come upon them in a group. Those wlio know 
the complexities of men may be able to explain this. The 
pamphlet war in which he and Nashe suddenly engaged, 
the attack of one being followed swiftly by the scurrilous, 
racy prose counter-attack of the other, in violent strophe 
and antistrophe, finally reached such a pitch of personal 
vituperation that the authorities stepped in and ordered 
'that all Nashe's bookes and Doctor Harvyes bookes be 
taken wheresoeuer they maye be found,' 


The Death of Greene 


As ROBERT GREENE lay dying, sorrow for his 
JLA. lost, misspent youth and life surged through him 
like a fever. Weeping, he forgot the humble room a 
stranger's he lay in, his once fine garments in tatters, his 
wracked body ulcered by the Great Pox syphilis, his hair 
unkempt, and the pointed red beard that had been his 
pride knotted and foul with lice and London mud. 

Like Villon before him in another land, he could 
mourn the evil fortune that had overtaken him, contrast- 
ing present, persistent ills with the days of brightness 
that had been: 'Dear God! had I but heeded my books 
in the days of my flaming youth, and given some thought 
to good conduct, I might have had my own house, and 
a soft bed to lie in! But Lord! I fled the Schoole like a 
naughty child. As I write this my heart is like to break.' * 
Thus Villon 5 and thus Greene presently. Gone are the 
madcap fellows who kept him company silent their jests 
like their friendship. Gone are the giggling girls who 
swarmed about him when his purse was full silent their 
satin-shrill voices, or cooing, but not for him, in another's 
chamber, where gold lies on the table. A month before 
there had been one wild burst of revelry the last and 


The Death of Greene 153 

then he had eaten and drunk himself into a stupor, feasting 
on pickled herring washed down by Rhine wine. He re- 
calls it now it is like a dream. Nashe had been there, 
the erstwhile disciple. It is over. Gone, too, now is the 
splendor of his promise, faded the glory of his achieve- 
ments. He has reached the end of surfeiting in a shoe- 
maker's house near Dowgate, by the river, half-starved 
and ragged, where he will die in loneliness. Therefore he 
weeps, and Death, stooping over his bed, peers down into 
a face grotesque with sorrow. A few discolored teeth, as 
the parched lip goes back, appear like withered ghosts 
writhing from a tomb. 

All is gone: youth, health, life itself. Of his worldly 
store, of goods and precious time, nothing is left but a 
parcel of minutes sand in the hourglass, sifting away. 
One final outpouring remains to him. He will set down his 
contrition on paper as a warning to others ay, at the end, 
he will call upon his erstwhile companions, as loose and 
lecherous as himself, to give over a way of living that 
had brought him to such straits. In the room given him to 
die in, he calls for paper and pen, and feeling once more 
the old, familiar impulse of the makers, he sublimates his 
misery as he prepares his farewell to the world. 

Now comes the cobbler's lady, who has some charity in 
her. She grants his last request a penny pot of wine and 
seeing the wild, unearthly stare in his red-rimmed eyes, 
backs out of Green's room, the antechamber of death, and 
tiptoes down to carry the news to her husband, who pauses 
in his cobbling, harks to all, and sighs, wondering, per- 

154 The Muses' Darling 

haps, if he will ever see again the money his strange 
lodger has cost him. For that is the way of the world. 

Upstairs, wracked by suffering, an old hand at the writ- 
ing game sets pen to paper: 'The Swan sings melodiously 
before death, that in all his life time vseth but a iarring 
sound. Greene though able inough to write, yet deeply er 
serched with sickness than euer heeretofore, sendes you his 
Swanne like songe, for that he feares he shall neuer againe 
carroll to you 'wonted loue layes } neuer againe discouer to 
you youths ^pleasures* 2 

He sighs as though his very soul were issuing forth, for 
the words evoke memories, conjuring back from darkness 
and death the glory of youth and the high promise of his 
early fame. He has referred to a dozen lyrics, scattered 
through his works, which still delight by their simplicity 
and radiance a handful of songs unsurpassed by any of 
his great contemporaries. For once again, in the strange 
annals of literature, a dissolute, riotous fellow has com- 
posed poems as lovely as love itself. And that, too, is the 
way of the world. 

He pauses now, reads over what he has written, tasting 
to the full the pleasure of his well-rounded lines, know- 
ing perhaps that never before has he written better. And 
so, in the proper mood at last, seizing the happy moments 
of authorship with zest in despite of death, he begins in 
earnest the composition of his Groates-Worth of Witte, 
bought with a wwllion of repentance, sparing no detail of 
his detested course of living, and groveling lower and 
lower in a religious ecstasy, that he may be raised higher 
at the end. 

The Death of Greene 155 

If he 'forgets a scrap or two, it is no matter; he is re- 
minded of others as he hears a scraping of feet at the door 
and turns to behold his mistress, who leads by the hand a 
shy, sickly boy, his bastard son, whom they have named 
Fortunatus. Small comfort they bring him; poverty has 
dogged them, too. Now they depart, and a bewildered boy 
looks backward from the door before he is gone forever. 

His strength is ebbing, and he can scarcely write. But 
he is resolved, before he will stop, to send the warning he 
has conceived to his 'quondam acquaintances. 3 Marlowe 
heads the list, and him he addresses thus: c Wonder not 
(for with thee wil I first begin) thou famous gracer of 
Tragedians, that Greene y who hath said with thee (like 
the foole in his heart) There is no God, shoulde now 
giue glorie vnto his greatness: for penetrating is his power, 
his hand lyes heauie vpon mee, hee hath spoken vnto mee 
with a voice of thunder, and I haue felt he is a God that 
can punish enemies. 

'Why should thy excellent wit, his gift, bee so blinded, 
that thou shouldst giue no glorie to the giuer? Is it pesti- 
lent Machiuilian pollicy that thou hast studied? O 
peeuish follie!' 

Time and illness have dimmed the scorn in his rival's 

To some perhaps my name is odious, 

But such as loue me, gard me from their tongues, 

And let them know that I am Macheuitt, 

And weigh not men s and therefore not mens words. 

156 The Muses' Darling 

But as he points the moral 'The brocher of this Dia- 
bolicall Atheisme is dead, and in his life had neuer the 
felicitie hee aymed at' he grows prophetic: *Defer not 
(with me) till this last point of extremitie; for little 
knowst thou how in the end thou shalt be visited?' 


Now, with bitterness welling up anew in his wracked 
soul, he directs his attack toward one whose bright star 
was already in the ascendant: 'There is an vpstart Crow, 
beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart 
wraft in a Players hyde y supposes he is as well able to 
bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and being 
an absolute lohannes jac totum y is in his owne conceit the 
onely Shake-scene in a countrey.' 

It is the rising actor-playwright William Shakespeare 
on whose name he puns, as once he had punned on Mar- 
lowe's 5 and he twists with savage glee the line in Henry 
VI <Oh tigers heart, wrapt'd in a woman's Hide' that 
all may know who is meant. 

Jealousy and rage drive the scratching pen across the 
paper, and he sighs as he comes to the end of his script 
and life itself. All is over for him 5 swiftly, swiftly, the 
sands of the hourglass sift downward, the candle burns 
down, the room is swarming with shadows. 

Now, at the end, one ghost is at his side, and her 
familiar image walks the dark corridors of his mind: he 
hears the rustle of her skirt, recalls, as by a score of mir- 

The Death of Greene 157 

rors in whose midst she stands, the gestures, stride and 
attitude of his forsaken wife. Now, when self-pity might 
consume him, his thoughts enshrine her, converge on her, 
hold her snared 5 and though he has bought contrition with 
a million of repentance, he has another million, nay, more, 
to buy forgiveness at her hands. Once more he clutches the 
pen} he has said his farewell to the world now he will 
take leave of her. The tears are hot now that were bitter 
before. He has come to the end that awaits all lonely men 
the far-wanderers, the seekers after pleasure, the scof- 
fers at custom and decorum, at order and the blessed hum- 
drum of quiet lives. How blessed now, even in this mis- 
erable death, would be her presence, her hand upon his 
brow, her whispered words. 

It is too late. His wild eyes glance around the room and 
see Death shuffling into a corner to wait his dying out. " 

How shall he begin? Addressing her, the pen lies use- 
less in his hand; he is a mere novice at authorship, a 
schoolboy fearful and hesitant confronting a difficult 
theme j he is humble because of the image of her in his 
mind, the image of one he should have cherished but did 
not, to whom he had brought cares and had left in dis- 
tress, whom he had upbraided when he should have suc- 
cored: 'How often the Gentlewoman his Wife labored 
vainely to recall him, is lamentable to note: but as one 
giuen ouer to all his lewdnes, he communicated her sor- 
rowful lines among his loose truls, that iested at her boot- 
lesse laments.' 

How shall he begin?. 'The remembrance of many 
wrongs offered thee, and thy vnreprooued virtues, adde 

158 The Muses' Darling 

greater sorrow to my miserable state, then I can vtter, or 
thou conceiue.' 

How plain the words seem, how insufficient, now that 
he has set them down. But it is a start: 'Neither is it less- 
ened by consideration of thy absence (though shame 
would let me hardly beholde thy face) but exceedingly 
aggrauated, for that I cannot (as I ought) to thy owne 
selfe reconcile my selfe, that thou mightest witnesse my 
inward woe at this instant, that haue made thee a woeful 
wife for so long a time. But equal heauen hath denied that 
comfort, giuing at my last neede like succour as I haue 
sought all my life: being in this extremitie as voide of 
helpe, as thou hast beene of hope. 

'Reason would, that after so long waste, I should not 
send thee a childe to bring thee greater charge 5 but con- 
sider, he is the fruit of thy wombe, in whose face regard 
not the fathers faults so much, as thy owne perfections. 
He is yet Greene, and may grow straight, if he be care- 
fully tended: otherwise apt enough (I feare me) to fol- 
low his fathers folly. 

'That I haue offended thee highly I knowe, that thou 
canst forget my injuries I hardly beleeue: yet perswade I 
my selfe if thou saw my wretched state, thou couldest not 
but lament it: nay, certainely I knowe thou wouldest. Al 
my wrongs muster themselues about me, euery euill at 
once plagues me. For my contempt of God, I am con- 
.temned of men: for my swearing and forswearing, no man 
will beleeue mej for my gluttony, I suffer hunger: for my 
drunfcennesse, thirst: for my adulterie, vlcerous sores. 

''Tius God hath cast me downe, that I might be hum- 

The Death of Greene 159 

bled: and punished me for example o others sinne: and 
although he suffers me in this world to perish without 
succour, yet trust I in the world to come to finde mercie, 
by the merits of my Sauiour, to whome I commend this, 
and commit my soule. 

'Thy repentant husband for his 'disloyaltie. Robert 

Did ever man perish more miserably? None was at his 
bedside when he died, and only his hostess saw his body 
to the grave. His wife and child, and their subsequent 
struggles, fade from the knowledge of men. 


A Puritan Confuted 


NDW comes Master Gabriel Harvey, ears sharp for 
literary gossip, <to enquire after the famous 
Author: who was reported to lye dangerously sicke in a 
shoemakers house near Dow-gate: not of the plague, or 
the pockes, as a Gentleman saide, but of a surfett of pickle 
herringe and rennish wine.' 

He threads his way through crowded streets to Dow- 
gate, and comes, not to a house of sickness, but to a house 
where death has called before him. It is September 5, 
1592, a day after Greene's burial. 

Harvey is well dressed 5 his manner is ingratiating. He 
confronts the simple woman of the house, sits at her table, 
and draws out her story, his retentive, spiteful memory 
noting all, cataloguing all, down to the cost of Greene's 
winding sheet, the charge of his interment. Eagerly she 
shows her visitor a note for ten pounds which Greene had 
bequeathed her husband, trusting perhaps that now it will 
be paid, that this fine gentleman so concerned over his 
dead friend for such she supposes him to be will square 
the account Her eyes look hopefully on Harvey's face as 
he peers hard, memorizing the scrawl Greene has left be- 
hind, a doubtful legacy. The elves of satisfaction grimace 


A Puritan Confuted 161 

and cavort in his mind. It is all as he could have wished. 
He bids the good woman adieu, with a bow and is gone, 
secretly exulting. She remains speechless, clutching the 
note, and sees him disappear. 

Now Harvey darts and dodges through Thames Street 
back to St. Paul's arriving at his publisher's establishment 
in a sweat, and promises to produce some additional and 
most delectable matter. He entitles his opus Foure Letter s y 
and certaine Sonnets: Especially touching Robert Greene 
the earlier pages have been overshadowed by his new 
material. He marshals fresh sheets of paper and seizes 
pen, feeling the gossip's urge to hound Greene in death 
who alive might have given him a drubbing for his pains. 
Yet something is due the deceased. Therefore he will re- 
hearse the evil reputation of his victim, that what he has to 
add may be in order: 'Who in London hath not heard of 
his dissolute, and licentious liuingj his fonde disguisinge 
of a Master of Arte with ruffiantly haire, vnseemely ap- 
parell, and more vnseemelye Company: his vaineglorious 
and Thrasonicall brauinge: his piperly Extemporizing, 
and Tarletonizing; his apishe counterfeiting of euery 
ridiculous, and absurd toy: his fine coosening of Jugglers, 
and finer iuggling with cooseners; his villainous cogging, 
and foisting 5 his monstrous swearinge, and horrible for- 
swearing 5 his impious profaning of sacred Textes: his 
other scandalous, and blasphemous rauinge: his riotous and 
outragious surfeitinge; his continuall shifting of lodgings: 
his plausible musteringe, and banquetinge of roysterly 
acquaintaunce at his first cominge; his beggarly departing 
in euery hostisses debt} his infamous resorting to the 

1 62 T$& Muses 9 Darling 

Banckside, Shorditch, Southwarke, and other filthy 
hauntes: his obscure lurkinge in basest corners: his pawn- 
ing of his sword, cloake, and what not, when money came 
short 5 his impudent pamphletting, phantasticall inter- 
luding, and desperate libelling, when other coosening 
shifts failed: his imployinge of Ball (surnamed Cuttinge 
Ball) till he was intercepted at Tiborne, to leauy a crew of 
his trustiest companions, to guarde him in daunger of 
Arrestes: his keeping of the foresaid Balls sister, a sorry 
ragged queane, of whome hee had his base sonne, Infor- 
tunatus Greene: h^ forsaking of his owne wife, too honest 
for such a husband: particulars are infinite.' 

He is but winded for a moment; he has put down 
everything he could think of. He turns sanctimonious: 
'They that haue seene much more than I haue heard: (for 
so I am credibly infourmed) can relate straunge & almost 
incredible Comedies of his monstrous disposition: where- 
with I am not to infect the Aire, or defile this paper.' 

It is a scholar, a courtier and a gentleman. Therefore 
hark now to his account of his visit to the house near 
Dowgate. Of his own imposture in drawing Greene's last 
benefactor out, there is not a word: 'His hostisse Is am with 
teares in her eies, & sighes from a deeper fountaine, (for 
she loued him derely) tould me of his lamentable begging 
of a penny pott of Malmesy: and, sir reurence how lowsy 
he, and the mother of Infortunatus were (I would her 
Surgeon found her no worse, then lowsey:) and how he 
was faine poore soule, to borrow her husbandes shirte, 
whiles his owne was a washing: and how his doublet, and 
hose, and sword were sold for three shillinges: and besides 

A Puritan Confuted 163 

the charges of his winding sheete, which was foure shil- 
lingesj and the charges of hys buriall yesterday, in the 
New-churchyard neere Bedlam, which was six shillinges, 
and four pence j how deeply hee was indebted to her poor 
husbande: as appeered by hys own bonde of tenne 
poundes: which the good woman kindly showed me: and 
beseeched me to read the writing beneath: which was a 
letter to his abandoned wife, in the behalfe of his gentle 
host: not so short as persuasible in the beginning, and pit- 
tifull in the ending. 

< Doll) I charge thee by the loue of our youth) &? by my 
soules rest, that thou wilte see this man $aide: for if hee y 
and his wife had not succoured me y I had died in the 

How could Spenser put up with such a lout? one asks; 
Nashe also raised the question: c lmmortall S^encer y no 
frailtie hath thy fame, but the imputation of this Idiots 

Thus died Greene, and thus did Harvey chronicle his 
death. Fortunatus Greene, his bastard son, died the follow- 
ing year. Cutting Ball, brother of his mistress, was hanged 
at Tyburn. Death and misfortune dogged them all. 

It was not to be supposed that Harvey's scurrilous 
pamphlet would go unanswered, and the publication of 
Foure Letters found Nashe in a mood to even the score. 
In Fovre Letters Confuted he set forth his deceased 

r i64 The Muses* Darling 

friend's virtues, and to make them more impressive he 
compared them with Harvey's lack of them. Greene had 
been c a good fellowe'j he sees him in memory with his 
pointed red beard wagging, and nostalgia for past times 
in Cheapside taverns gives his prose a sad, quiet murmur. 
It is Nashe at his best, belaboring Harvey, defending 
Greene: 'Hee inherited more vertues than vices: a jolly 
long red peake, like the spire of a steeple, hee cherisht con- 
tinually without cutting, whereat a man might hang a 
lewell, it was so sharpe and pendant. 

'Why should art answer for the infirmities of manners? 
Hee had his faultes, and thou thy f ollyes. 

'Debt and deadly sinne, who is not subject to? with any 
notorious crime I neuer knew him tainted 5 (& yet taint- 
ing is no infamous surgerie for him that hath beene in so 
many hote skirmishes).' 

So much for Greene's lechery. Did he drink, too? Why, 
what was money for? It was Greene's own money: 'A good 
fellowe hee was, and would haue drunke with thee for 
more angels then the Lord thou libeldst on gaue thee in 
Christs Colledge; and in one yeare he pist as much against 
the walls, as thou and thy two brothers spent in three.' 

So much for Greene's tippling. He was a hard worker 
notwithstanding: 'In a night & a day would he haue yarkt 
vp a Pamphlet as well as in seuen yeare, and glad was 
that Printer that might bee so blest to pay him deare for 
the very dregs of his wit. 

'Hee made no account of winning credite by his workes, 
as thou dost, that dost no good workes, but thinkes to bee 
famosed by a strong faith of thy owne worthines: his only 

A Puritan Confuted 165 

care was to haue a spel in his purse to coniure vp a good 
cuppe of wine with at all times.' 

Now Tom Nashe warms to his labors. The fine figure 
of his friend, garbed in a great green cloak, with the sharp 
red beard thrusting downward over it, strides through his 
mind as he thumbs Harvey's malignant paragraphs. He 
knows somewhat about Greene's apparel, and the sums 
spent on it} and a thing or two about the last feast with 
him on which Harvey has animadverted. Now, then, 
<harke in your eare': Tor the lowsie circumstances of his 
pourety before his death, and sending that miserable 
writte to his wife, it cannot be but thou lyest, learned 

<I and one of my fellowes, Will. Monox (hast thou 
neuer heard of him and his great dagger?) were in com- 
pany with him a month before he died, at that fatall ban- 
quet of Rhenish wine and pickled hearing (if thou wilt 
needs haue it so), and then the inuentorie of his apparrell 
came to more than three shillings (though thou saist the 
contrarie). I know a Broker in a spruce leather ierkin with 
a great number of golde Rings on his fingers, and a bunch 
of keies at his girdle, shall giue you thirty shillings for the 
doublet alone, if you can helpe him to it. Harke in your 
eare, hee had a very faire Cloake with sleeues, of a graue 
goose turd greene; it would serue you as fine as may bee 5 
No more words, if you bee wise, play the goodhusband 
and listen after it, you may buy it ten shillings better 
cheape than it cost him. 3 

And recalling Harvey's beginnings, his father a rope- 
maker, and Harvey's friends at Court, he lays on a final 

'i 66 The Muses' Darling 

thwack and thump: 'By S. Siluer, it is good to bee circum- 
spect in casting for the worlde, theres a great many ropes 
go to ten shillings. If you want a greasy paire of silk stock- 
ings also, to shew your self e in at the Court, they are there 
to be had too amongst his moueables.' 

About the matter of Greene's clothes, both Nashe and 
Harvey may have been in the right one recalling what 
his friend had been wont to wear 5 the other learning what 
these had dwindled to as Greene stumbled from a pawn- 
broker's shop into the gutter, via the nearest tavern. Who 
Will Monox was I do not know perhaps one that had 
drawn his dagger to affright Gabriel Harvey withal. 


Afology to Marlowe and Shakespeare 


TO Henry Chettle, playwright and printer, fell the 
task of seeing Greene's Groates-W orth of Wine 
licensed and printed. It proved embarrassing. To begin 
with, although he was a compositor, and had gazed de- 
jectedly at many a writer's scrawl, this deathbed scribble 
of Greene's was perhaps the worst. The manuscript being 
in his care, he must perforce copy it for licensing. Copying 
another writer's work is tedious. Then there was the ques- 
tion of libel. 

As he drove his pen on, supplying punctuation and para- 
graphing, as he was later to admit, he came upon a page 
that halted his hand between the inkhorn and paper and 
brought a furrow into his fat brow. A writer himself, he 
hesitated to take liberties with another's text. On the other 
hand, he had heard of Marlowe. He therefore left out a 
line or two which blunted, he hoped, the sharpness of 
Greene's admonition. He had heard of Shakespeare also, 
and his high standing as a man and as a writer. Again he 
skipped in his copying. It was a secret and reverential 
mark of homage, spontaneous and honest. But it did not 
save him from trouble. 

At the first perusals of Greene's pages a stir ran through 


1 68 The Muses* Darting 

St. Paul's. The book fell like a pebble into the placid pond 
of the dead time of the year, and ripples, ever widening, 
spread over literary London. Friends and enemies alike 
of the dead author conned it eagerly, and then hurried 
like couriers with secret and exciting news to buzz into 
each other's ears. How Greene would have exulted to view 
this posthumous success! 

Finally A Groates-W orth of Witte reached the circles 
in which Marlowe and Shakespeare moved. What hap- 
pened then can only be surmised from the sequel. It sent 
Chettle scurrying back to the book he had ushered into the 
world. And at his heels, apparently, came demands for 

He must have wished that he had never seen the dam- 
nable manuscript, which a bookseller had entrusted to his 
care. He recalled his pains over it, his copying, his run- 
ning to and fro, the labors of recording and the labors of 
printing. Then his perturbation gave way to indignation. 
He had always dealt fairly with all, and he had not 
changed. So he rolled up his sleeves and prepared to give 
a lusty whack or two in his own behalf. But when he 
actually made his retort, it was more in sorrow than in 
anger, although something of the latter crept in. For that 
was the nature of the man. 

The apologia for his connection with Greene's book ap- 
pears in the preface to Chettle's Kind-Harts Dreame 
which he rushed to the press in December, 1592. It begins 
thus: 'About three moneths since died M. Robert Greene, 
leauing many facers in sundry Booke sellers hands y among 
other his Groats-worth of wit, in which a letter written to 

Apology to Marlowe and, Shakespeare 169 

dluers play-makers, is offensively by one or two of them 
taken, and, because on the dead, they cannot be auenged, 
they wilfully forge in their concedes a llulng Author: and 
after tossing it two and fro, no remedy, but it must light 

on me? 

There is no satisfaction in the dead, so a living culprit 
must be had yet, wherefore me? he asks. Others may 
have forgotten his fair dealing, but he will remind them: 
'How I haue all the time of my conuersing in printing 
hindred the bitter Inueylng against schollers, it hath been 
very well knowne, and how In that I dealt I COM, suffi- 
ciently prooue? As for the present complainants, he did 
not even know them with a bow toward Marlowe: 
'With neither of them that take ofence was I acquainted, 
and with one of them I care not if I neuer be: 

'The other, whome at that time I did not so much spare, 
as since I wish I had, for that as I haue moderated the 
heate of llulng writers, and might haue vsde my owne dis- 
cretion (especially In such a case} the Author beelng dead, 
that I did not, I am as sory, as if the original -fault had 
beene my fault, because my selfe haue seene his de- 
meanor no lesse clulll than he exelent In the qualltle he 

'Besides, diuers of worship haue reported, his vpright- 
nes of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious 
grace In writting, that aprooues his Art? 

Chettle had seen Shakespeare plain, and this was his 
reputation in 1592, when he was twenty-eight years old. 
"Whatever bitterness, secret and soul-consuming, was to 
fester in his heart later, fortune smiled upon him from the 

The Muses 9 Darling 

rs t his star was ever in the ascendant, and opposite to 

To the latter Chettle returns for a parting comment, for 
he strove to be fair: <For the first y whose learning I 
reuerence, and at the perusing of Greenes Booke, stroke 
out what then in conscience I thought he in some displeas- 
ure writ: or had it beene true y yet to publish it, was in- 
tollerable: him I would wish to vse me no worse than I 
deserue. y 

There remained only to explain just what his share in 
Greene's book was, for Chettle is nothing if not thorough, 
but even at the end his good thoughts for another break 
through, for he had heard, besides indignation, a few ugly 
rumors going the rounds: < I had onely In the copy this 
share, it was il written, as sometimes Greenes hand was 
none of the best, licensd it must be, ere it could bee printed 
which could neuer be if it might not be read. To be breije 
I writ it ouer, and as neare as I could, followed the cof>y, 
onely in that letter I $ut something out, but in the whole 
booke not a worde In, for I protest it was all Greenes, not 
mine nor Maister Nashes, as some vniustly haue affirmed.* 

It has the ring of honesty. Nashe, defending himself 
against caluminators, conveniently forgot his alliance with 
Greene some years before: *I neuer abusd Marloe, Greene, 
Chettle in my life, nor anie of my frends that vsde me 
like a f rend.' 

So here was Marlowe, also at twenty-eight, with a repu- 
tation which a vicious individual could turn against him 
to his harm. Greene's ill-advised, ill-tempered lines, were 
barbed shafts that fell short of their mark, but before the 

Apology to Marlowe and Shakespeare 171 

end another drew the bow a meaner, inferior but craft- 
ier enemy; not a writer. 

At twenty-eight Marlowe had not yet learned to put a 
check on his tongue. He said what he pleased the moment 
a thought took form in his mind, and the words came 
tumbling forth to shock and astonish. He was not one to 
fret unduly over the effect} those who did not see things 
his way were dullards. 

For the present he was safe. Chettle's apology was not 
all perhaps that he could have wished, but it was some- 
thing. It gave notice, if notice were needed, that Christo- 
pher Marlowe would strike back as the occasion de- 
manded. But against the hireling drawing up a secret 
indictment, against words wrung forth on the rack, the 
prisoner babbling to save himself, there would be no 
defense. His opinions had become doubly dangerous be- 
cause he blurted them out to blabbers like himself. 

Shakespeare he knew, but not, apparently, Polonius: 

Give thy thoughts no tongue, 
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act. 
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar} 
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried^ 
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel} 
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment 
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware 
Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in, 
Bear*t that th' opposed may beware of thee. 

172 The Muses' Darling 

He might have praised the writing, but its philosophy 
was not for him save, perhaps, that part about a 


Despite the gathering chorus of calumny, and the gen- 
eral acceptance of his character as reckless and unsteady, 
Marlowe in 1592, with less than a year of life remaining 
to him, was in the plentitude of his powers, renowned 
among the renowned. Writers illustrious as some of 
them were were not his only friends; and even in the 
attacks of his enemies or ill-wishers, respect for his 
achievements was writ large. He moved unperturbed from 
tavern table or bookseller's stall to the society of noble- 
men, for he had found it a simple matter, as he himself 
wrote, to 

cast the scholler off, 
And learne to court it like a Gentleman. 

It was not only through the dedication of his friend 
Watson's posthumous book that Marlowe had access to the 
Countess of Pembroke's circle j his latest drama, Edward 
11 y was now being 'sundrie times publiquely acted in the 
honourable citie of London, by the right honourable the 
Earle of Pembrooke his seruantes.' A compliment to the 
earl's wife, imbedded in that work, implies a greater 
familiarity with his lordship than the bare announcement 
on the title-page would indicate: 

Apology to Marlowe and Shakespeare 173 

My house is not farre hence, out of the way 
A little, but our men shall go along. 
We that haue prettie wenches to our wiues, 
Sir, must not come so neare and balke their lips, 

It is spoken by an earlier Pembroke. 

The end was at hand} the work was pouring forth. This 
is the play that shows how Marlowe, if he had lived, 
would have matured; this is the book with which Shake- 
speare went to school. 1 Only five years had elapsed since 
Tamburlaine, but there is here a development as impres- 
sive as Shakespeare's was to be perhaps it was more im- 
pressive, for at this time, Shakespeare, the same age as 
Marlowe, had not produced anything to compare with this 
tragedy j it was many years before he did. 

For the story of Edward and his favorite, Gaveston, and 
the revolt of the nobles against their sinister friendship, 
Marlowe turned to Holinshed's Chronicle. The bare bones 
were there. But the perfections of Edward II emerge 
within the framework of a wholly realized art form per- 
haps here, for the first time in his life as a writer for the 
stage, Marlowe was master of his medium: skilled in mod-, 
vation, sure in development of character. Queen Isabel is a 
woman, scorned by Edward, loved by Mortimer, tragic 
and passionate, but never the dim, idealized vision beheld 
by Tamburlaine or Faustus. Ambition drives Mortimer 
within grasp of the throne, and weakness and disease of 
the spirit drag Edward down to abdication and death at 
the hands of hirelings. Marlowe had observed, with be- 
coming cynicism, the ways of the fine-furred world: 

THe troubleiorne 

raigne and lamentable death of* 
Edward the fecond^I^jnf of 

England : with the tr^gicafl 

it was iiindrie times publiquely a,tecl 
mthe keneurabfe cttte of London , by the 

r*^hfc honourable the Eaji 

Wrl*t*n>1& Chru Marlow C?^^ 

at X-ondon for. f*7ff/*m 

mjK ncr 

f 9^ 

Apology to Marlowe and Shakespeare 175 

Tis not a black coate and a little band, 

A Veluet cap'de cloake, f ac'st before with Serge, 

And smelling to a Nosegay all the day, 

Or holding of a napkin in your hand, 

Or saying a long grace at a tables end, 

Or making lowe legs to a noble man, 

Or looking downeward with your eye lids close, 

And saying, trulie ant may please your honor, 

Can get you any f auour with great men, 

You. must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute, 

And now and then, stab as occasion semes. 

Much that Shakespeare was to do is found in Edward II 
in epitome, and all of it is shadowed forth in verse not 
even he surpassed the steady revelation of great spirits 
in opposition, like planets tugging in their orbitsj the 
searching soliloquy, and the close-packed, intense lines. 
Rash and intemperate Marlowe may have appeared to 
some, but on the evidence of this play something serene 
and deeply felt in him was gathering into beauty for a sec- 
ond harvest. 

It is the death scene of Marlowe's king: 

These lookes of thine can harbor nought but death. 
I see my tragedie written in thy browes, 
Yet stay a while, f orbeare thy bloudie hande, 
And let me see the stroke before it comes, 
That euen then when I shall lose my life, 
My minde may be more stedf ast on my God. 

Ij6 The Muses' Darling 

What meanes your highnesse to mistrust me thus? 

What meanes thou to dissemble with me thus? 

These handes were neuer stainde with innocent blouc 
Nor shall they now be tainted with a kings. 

Forgiue my thought, for hauing such a thought, 
One iewell haue I left, receiue thou this. 
Still feare I, and I know not whats the cause, 
But euerie iointe shakes as I giue it thee: 

if thou harborst murther in thy hart, 

Let this gift change thy minde, and saue thy soule, 
Know that I am a king, oh at that name 

1 feele a hell of greefe: where is my crowne? 
Gone, gone, and doe I remaine aliue? 

Your ouerwatchde my lord, lie downe and rest. 

But that greefe keepes me waking, I shoulde sleepe, 
For not these ten daies haue these eyes lids closd. 
Now as I speake they fall, and yet with feare 
Open againe. O wherefore sits thou heare? 

If you mistrust me, ile be gon my lord. 

No, no, for if thou meanst to murther me, 
Thou wilt returne againe, and therefore stay. 

He sleepes. 

Apology to Marlowe and Shakespeare 177 
O let me not die yet, stay, O stay a while. 

How now my Lorde, 

Something still busseth in mine eares, 

And tels me, i I sleepe I neuer wake, 

This f eare is that which makes me tremble thus, 

And therefore tell me, wherefore art thou come? 

To rid thee of thy life. 

Thus, in pity and terror, the climax of the play comes, 
and the great characters that people it turn shadowward. 
In the Earl of Mortimer who led the nobles against their 
sovereign, Marlowe has again projected an aspiring pro- 
tagonist, but this one is a man, motivated by hatred of 
Gaveston and love of country and his queen, a tragic figure 
who nurses his own doom in safeguarding Edward's son. 
He meets death like an Elizabethan, with a sublime ut- 
terance whose echoes we hear in Julius Caesar and 

Base fortune, now I see, that in thy wheele 
There is a point, to which when men aspire, 
They tumble hedlong downe: that pointe I touchte, 
And seeing there was no place to mount vp higher, 
Why should I greeue at my declining fall?. 
Farewell f aire Queene, weepe not for Mortimer, 
That scornes the world, and as a traueller, 
Goes to discouer countries yet vnknowne. 


Depression and a Play 


NATIONALISM is the child of economics, fathered 
anew by every lean age. Witness an incident three 
and a half centuries ago. It is London, in the spring of 
1593. In streets where the aliens dwell there are murmur- 
ing, menacing groups, a sudden barrage of stones against 
barred and bolted doors j burly apprentices roar past the 
huddle of houses, bellowing for combat. The men of the 
watch come running with a heavy-footed clatter, and the 
cry rises: 'prentices and clubs/ to beat the officers down. 

The scene shifts to the House of Commons. A new bill, 
'against Alien Strangers selling by way of Retail any 
Foreign Commodities/ is up for discussion. 1 

Sir John Wolley: c This Bill should be ill for London^ 
for the Riches and Renown of the City cometh by enter- 
taining of Strangers, and giving liberty unto them.' 

Mr. Fuller: c The exclamations of the City are exceed- 
ing pitiful and great against these Strangers 5 nay had not 
these latter quiet times in their own Countries, and our 
troubles made many of them retire home, the Citizens 
would have been in uproar against them: The which if the 
Government of the City repress not, they will be apt 
enough to it.' 


Degression and & Play 179 

Mr. Finch: 'We ought not to be uncharitable, but this 
must be the Rule. None must so relieve Strangers, as by it 
to beggar themselves. But for their riches, it groweth 
chiefly by Parsimony, and where they dwell I see not the 
Nation is so much grieved at them as here in London, for 
they contribute to all Scots and Lots as we do. Though 
they be a church by themselves, their Example is profit- 
able amongst us, for their Children are no sooner able to 
go, but they are taught to serve God, and to flee idleness} 
for the least of them earneth his meat by his labour. Our 
Nation is sure more blessed for their sakes. Wherefore as 
the Scripture saith, Let us not grieve the Soul of th0 

Sir Walter Raleigh (member for Devonshire): 
'Whereas it is presented, that for Strangers it is against 
Charity, against Honour, against profit to expel them } in 
my opinion it is no matter of Charity to relieve them. For 
first, such as fly hither have forsaken their own King, and 
Religion is no pretext for them, for we have no Dutchmen 
here, but such as came from those Princes where the Gos- 
pel is Preached, and here they live disliking our Church. 
For Honour, It is Honour to use Strangers as we be used 
amongst Strangers} And it is a lightness in a Common- 
Wealth, yea a baseness in a Nation to give a liberty to 
another Nation which we cannot receive again. In Ant- 
werp where our intercourse was most, we were never suf- 
fered to have a Taylor or a Shoemaker to dwell there. 
Nay at Millain where there are three hundred pound 
English men, they cannot have so much as a Barber 
amongst them. And for Profit, they are all of the House 

i8o The Muses' Darling 

of Almoigne, who pay nothing, yet eat out our profits^ 
and supplant our own Nation. Custom indeed they pay, 
paying fifteen pence where we pay twelve pence, but they 
are discharged of Subsidies. 3 

The voices of the honorable members rise to a drone. 
Twenty-five years later, on Tower Hill, Sir Walter, what 
thought you of charity then? A scarce commodity, was it 
not, O wanderer over the world! 

So thought the French and Flemings, parsimonious 
weavers and tradesmen flourishing in an alien land, who 
had watched their families grow with their hoards, and 
whose eyes and ears now sentineled their households in 
the troubled days and nights. So thought the prosperous 
Dutch, cloth merchants to the world, whose tidy souls 
gave prayers and praise to God in their own church in Aus- 
tin Friars, which Edward VI had granted them to be an 
orthodox rampart in the troubled sea of London. In the 
streets of the aliens inexplicable fear seizes the children 
as they watch bolts and bars clatter into place, and hear, 
beyond the door and window, the hostile murmur. 


In the tense city, a group of writers met to talk over a 
play. 2 Their protagonist was Sir Thomas More who, as 
Sheriff of London under Henry VIII, had faced an ap- 
prentices' uprising against foreigners during a depression 
year. London would flock to see current events depicted 
in historical guise, with all the braveries of verse to stir 
the English heart: 

Depression and a Play 181 

My searching eye did neuer entertaine 
A more distracted countenaunce o greefe 
Then I haue late obseru'de 
In the displeased commons of the cittie. 

That was for the unemployed 'prentices and their wives, 
and their masters and masters' wives, too. Out of their 
discontent the tocsin beat: 

But if the Englishe blood be once but vp, 
As I perceiue theire harts alreadie full 
I f eare me much, before their spleenes be coolde, 
Some of these saucie aliens for their pride 
Will pay for't soundly, wheresoere it lights 

beat until it became reckless and an incitement to re- 

Then gallant bloods you whoes fre sowles doo skorne 
To beare the inf orsed wrongs of aliens 
Ad rage to ressolutione fier the howses 
Of theis audatious strangers. 

The script or 'booke' of the play was submitted to Sir 
Edmund Tyllney, Master of the Revels, for licensing; it 
came back, license refused. In the margin at the top of the 
first sheet of dialogue the astonished collaborators read 
the following threatening memorandum: c Leaue out the 
insurrection wholy & the Cause theroff & begin with Sir 
Tho: Moore att the mayors sessions with a report after- 

1 82 The Muses' Darling 

wards off his good service done being Shrieve off London 
vppon a mutiny Agaynst the Lumbards only by A shortt 
reportt & nott otherwise att your own perilles.' 8 

Hastily thumbing through their manuscript, they saw 
repeated objections to the word * strangers/ a marginal 
note, 'Mend this, 5 whole scenes crossed out. To save the 
play, a new writer was called in, whose contribution was a 
revised insurrection scene. Was it Marlowe or Shake- 
speare? The humanity of Shakespeare is apparent in 
More's address to the insurgents: 

Go you to Fraunce or Flanders, 
To any Jarman prouince, to Spaine or Portigall, 
Nay, any where that not adheres to Ingland, 
Why, you must needes be straingers: woold you be 


To find a nation of such barbarous temper, 
That, breaking out in hiddious violence, 
Would not afoord you an abode on earth ? 

There Is no record to show that the play was ever pro- 
duced. But from subsequent events, it appears that Sir 
Edmund Tyllney had not only exercised his prerogative 
of official censor, but had submitted the names of the 
authors to the Privy Council. 

One of them was Thomas Kyd. 


The final phase of the drama opens against a back- 
ground of demoralizing plague, with church bells tolling 

Depression and a Play 183 

gloom. There appeared, suddenly, on walls and doors, 
printed manifestoes threatening the 'strangers' if they did 
not forthwith leave the city. One of them was the wall 
of the Dutch church in Austin Friars. Admonished by resi- 
dent ambassadors, Her Majesty's Privy Council prodded 
the Lord Mayor, and several brawlers were seized, put 
into stocks, carted about and whipped at crossroads. Then, 
in desperation, at a Star Chamber meeting on May 1 1, the 
Council lashed out. Present were Whitgift, the Lord 
Archbishop j Sir John Puckering, Lord Keeper of the 
Great Seal and Her Majesty's Chancellor 5 Burghley, the 
Lord Treasurer} the Earl of Derby 5 Lord Buckhurst, 
onetime gentleman author 5 Sir John Fortescue, and Sir 
Robert Cecil, Elizabeth's 'little man,' now grooming him- 
self to take his father's place: 'A letter to Sir Richard 
Martin, Anthonie Ashley, Mr. Alderman Buckle, &c.: 4 

'There haue bin of late diuers lewd and mutinous libells 
set up within the ritie of London, among the which there 
is some set uppon the wal of the Dutch Churchyard that 
doth exceed the rest in lewdness, and for the discouerie of 
the author and publisher thereof hir Maiesties pleasure is 
that some extraordinarie paines and care be taken by you 
commissioners appointed by the Lord Maior for th* ex- 
amining such persons as maie be in this case anie way sus- 
pected. Theis shalbe therefore to require and aucthorize 
you to make search and apprehend euerie person so to be 
suspected, and for that purpoze to enter into al houses 
and places where anie such maie be remayning. And, 
uppon their apprehencion, to make like search in anie the 
.chambers, studies, chestes, or other like places for al 

j 84 The Muses* Darling 

manner of writings or papers that may geue you light for 
the discouerie of the libellers.* 

It is but indifferent spelling and composition, but their 
Lordships have managed to convey the hysteria brought 
by them into the Star Chamber : 'And after you shall haue 
examined the persons, if you shal finde them dulie to be 
suspected, and they shal refuze to confesse the truth, you 
shal by aucthoritie hereof put them to the Torture in 
Bridewel, and by th' extremitie thereof, to be used at such 
times and as often as you shal think fit, draw them to dis- 
couer their knowledge concerning the said libells.' 

The scribe, bent over his scratching quill, raises his 
head at the word 'torture,* and the thrust of steel in the 
speaker's voice earns a capital letter. 

The letter is dispatched to the Lord Mayors commis- 
sioners. Their Lordships fill the room with coughing, 
metamorphosed bade into men. Informers swarm forth. 
The tragedy of Kyd and Marlowe swells to its fateful 


'The ''Arrest of Kyd 


THE stairs creak, there is a sound of tramping feet, 
and armed forms shuffling in the dark. A moment 
later a heavy hand smites loudly, authoritatively, on the 
door of Thomas Kyd's chamber, and a startled and per- 
plexed author hastens to give his unexpected visitors entry. 

It is the last free and uncompelled action of his life. 
Fate has marked -finis to his career and hovers in the 
shadows with the law's minions. 

Gruffly, a bailiff demands his 'papers.* Kyd points, like 
an automaton, to his table. He is bewildered, then terri- 
fied, as silence meets his questions and he sees the bailiff 
taking up his manuscripts. Passages merge and blur in his 
mind. The hard-breathing officer glances superciliously 
at the titles of volumes huddled together, then begins to 
pry into chests and drawers. The room is oppressive with 
men's breathing. 

Patiently, with the patience of the slow-footed law, the 
bailiff examines each scrap of his new findsj patiently his 
men stand at their posts, shifting their wearisome positions 
or clearing fog-filled throats with forced, explosive 
coughs; and patiently, but not stolidly like the others, 
feeling his misgivings grow, Kyd eyes the movements of 


1 86 The Muses' Darling 

the prober, and starts as the bailiff straightens up, holding 
several pieces of paper to the light. 

What has he found? 

As one in a dream pursued by horrifying, sinister 
shapes, Kyd sees the men of the law close in about him. 
From oppressive warmth the room suddenly has turned 
cold, and an ague of fright holds him rooted to the spot. 
Then he is swept out of the room, in the midst of his 
heavy-footed abductors, down the stairs and into the fog- 
haunted street. He is under arrest. He is a prisoner. It is 
unreal. But now the wheels of his brain begin to whir and 
plunge. He trudges along, his mind full of projects for 
his swift release. In the streets he is leaving behind, wisps 
and strays of fog haunt the air. 


There was a great deal of mysterious bustle wfiere lie 
next found himself. The humorless ceremonies of the law 
chilled his soul, and it was not long before the glimmers of 
his confidence went out in terror before hostile authority. 
He was in Bridewell, the prey of inquisitors. 

To a question about 'the booke of Sir Thomas More/ 
he replies that he is a playwright, not an inciter to re- 

To a question about the outbreaks against the aliens, 
he replies that he is not a masterless man, and not a 

Then his tormentors let him be. He found himself 
alone, and experiencing that enormous loneliness com- 

The "Arrest of Kyd 187 

bined with helplessness which comes to all who are sud- 
denly taken out of the teeming world to prison. All 
through the night he heard loud voices and cries, and the 
comings and goings of many men. Sleep at length pre- 
vailed over the host of lugubrious thoughts that thronged 
his brain. Under a roof that covered nightmares his tired 
body had ease. He was beyond the cruelties of men for a 
brief time. 

Interrogations were resumed the next day. Suddenly 
they ceased, and he was escorted to a room whose designa- 
tion was awesome even to his jailors. He saw the rack, and 
steeled himself for the ordeal. Between gasps, hands 
clenched and teeth grinding hard, he continued to assert 
his innocence and to beg that word be sent to his Lord. 
It was then that he was shown three sheets of paper 
seized, days ago, ages ago, in the chamber which was now 
like a chamber in a dream, far off, full of peace and quiet, 
where he had once lived. 

The blood rushes to his face, speech vanishes from his 
mind as he reads the terrifying notation on one of the 

12 may 1593 

vile hereticall Conceiptes 
denyinge the deity of Jhesus 
Christ our Savior fownd 
emongest the papers of Thos 
kydd prisoner. 1 

Kyd, at bay, looks up into a circle of death's head smiles. 
He tries to explain. The papers had become 'shuffled' 

1 88 The Muses' Darling 

with his own while sharing his room with another man, 
another writer. 

Who is the man? 

Again Kyd replies, and this time one of his examiners 
takes up a pen, dips it into an ink-pot, and writes under 
the earlier notation: 

which he affirmethe that he 
had ffrom Marlowe. 

The commissioners scent new quarry, and look kindlier 
now upon their victim, who hangs abjectly, bruised and 
bloodied, a scarecrow of a man with gleams of terror for 

It is May 18. Their findings are communicated to the 
Privy Council. An agent slips away from London to run 
the quarry down. He is Henry Maunder, one of the mes- 
sengers of Her Majesty's Chamber, who has been 
ordered to c repaire to the house of Mr. Tho: Walsingham 
in Kent, or to anie other place where he shall vnderstand 
Christofer Marlow to be remayning, and by virtue hereof 
to apprehend and bring him to the Court.' Their Lord- 
ships somewhat know their man, and they have added this 
laconic phrase: c and in case of need to require ayd.' 2 


'Eros and Other Gods 

WHAT was it, in that somber spring, that turned the 
mind of Marlowe to love, the god toward whom 
no man is atheist? For, in the house of Mr. Thomas Wal- 
singham in Kent, with less than two weeks of life remain- 
ing to him, he is writing a love poem in narrative form, 
of 'Hero the faire,' and 'Amorous Leander y beautifull 
and yoong.* We know him so well and so little! What is 
imbedded in that line of his 

Who euer lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight? 

and its reiteration 

True loue is mute, and oft amazed stands j 

and the triumphant finale: 

Treason was in her thought, 
And cunningly to yeeld her self e she sought. 
Seeming not woon, yet woon she was at length, 
In such warres women vse but halfe their strength. 
Leander now like Theban Hercules, 
Entred the orchard of Th?es$erides> 


'190 The Muses 9 Darling 

Whose fruit none rightly can describe but hee 
That puls or shakes it from the golden tree: 
And now she wisht this night were neuer done, 
And sigh'd to thinke vpon th' approaching sunne, 
For much it greeu'd her that the bright day-light 
Should know the pleasure of this blessed night, 
And them like Mars and Ericine display, 
Both in each others armes chaind as they lay. 
Againe she knew not how to frame her looke, 
Or speake to him who in a moment tooke 
That which so long so charily she kept, 
And f aine by stealth away she would haue crept, 
And to some corner secretly haue gone, 
Leauing Leander in the bed alone. 
But as her naked feet were whipping out, 
He on the suddaine dinged her so about, 
That Meremaid-like vnto the floore she slid, 
One half e appeared, the other half e was hid. 
Thus neere the bed she blushing stood vpright, 
And from her countenance behold ye might 
A kind of twilight breake, which through the heare, 
As from an orient cloud, glymse here and there. 
And round about the chamber this false morne 
Brought f oorth the day before the day was "borne. 

This much is certain: by love, or by as subtle a meta- 
morphosis of the spirit, he had become once more the 
youth of Corpus Christi, steeped in Ovid, wearing out 
the hours in rhymed measures. And with his life turning 
backward upon itself, the wheel of fortune turned. 

Eros and Other Gods 191 

For now comes Master Maunder to Scadbury, asking 
discreetly if one Marlowe is there j he would have a word 
with him. He steps aside with the poet and communicates 
his tidings. A conference follows, and Marlowe is advised 
to present himself promptly to the Privy Council. He bids 
Thomas Walsingham and his lady adieu, and rides off to 
London, the lines of his poem ringing fainter and fainter 
in his mind. 

There is a hush in the streets when he arrives j church 
bells, treading the air throughout London, send forth 
their peals, mingling their myriad-toned music in an 
anthem for the plague's dead. He comes to the shadowy 
buildings of government at Westminster, enters one, and 
is instantly enmeshed in the law's coils. 

*I am Christopher Marlowe,' he announces. 

A crafty, medieval face looks up into his. There is a 
rustle of paper as his dossier is run down; he waits, impa- 
tience gnawing the particles of his mind. He is admitted, 
at length, into the hushed presence of the ministers of 
state. His aspect is grave, to match the faces he sees there. 
He learns of Kyd's imprisonment with serious mien, and 
gives, in return, an account of their friendship if it can 
be called that. Then he is shown the three sheets of paper 
Kyd has ascribed to him. He asks leave to peruse them, 
sees the notation 'vile hereticall Conceiptes,' etc. 

He begins to read, his mind busy formulating a de- 
fense. He sees before him, written in a neat, clerkly, 

192 The Muses' Darling 

Italian script, the ancient Arian heresy denying the divine 
origin of Jesus j twelve centuries before it had shaken 
Christendom, ushering in the confession of faith known 
as the Nicene creed. He reads: *It is lawfull by many 
wayes to se the infirmitie of Jhesus Christ whom Paul in 
the last chapter to the Corinthians of the second Epistle 
denieth not to be crucified through infirmitie. And the 
whole course & consent of the Euangelicall history doth 
make him subject to the passions of man as hunger thirst 
wearines & fear. To the same end ar swete amdetie con- 
tinuall praier the consolation of the Angell again spitting 
whipping rebukes or checks His corps wrapt in the linnen 
cloth vnburied And to beleue forsooth that this nature 
subiect to theis infirmities & passions is God or any part of 
the diuine essence what is it other but to make God mightie 
& of power of thone part weak & impotent of thother part 
which thing to think it wer madness & follie To persuade 
others impieties.' 

It was a moment of mortal danger. This is precisely 
what killed Francis Kett, like Marlowe late of Corpus 
Christi, who died at the stake screaming before his life 
flickered and went out: 'Blessed be none but God.' 

The moment passed. Perhaps Marlowe looked up with 
a chuckle calculated to disarm and, handing over the 
sheets, named their source. For the three pages are merely 
la transcript from a book, The Fal of the late Arrian y 
printed in 1549^ in which an antitrinitarian tract is quoted 

Eros and, Other Gods 193 

for purposes of confutation. (Whoever the unknown 
Socinian was, he had come into conflict with the Privy 
Council in the reign of Henry VIII, just as Kyd and 
Marlowe and others were to do in the reign of Henry's 
daughter. 1 The political and religious pattern is one of 
repetitions.) If Marlowe was asked how he knew this, he 
could have reminded his examiners that he had been a 
student of divinity. 

As for the clerkly, Italian script found in the copy, it 
was not his handwriting} perhaps Kyd's Marlowe's last 
sardonic jest at the expense of his friend Who knows the 
heart of man? 

Whatever his explanation was, it was decided that his 
being at large would not endanger the realm, for a Privy 
Council minute reveals he was not held: *20 May. This 
day Christofer Marley of London, gent., being sent for 
by warrant from their Lordships, hath entered his appear- 
ance accordinglie for his indemnity therein, and is com- 
maunded to giue his daily attendaunce on their Lordships 
vntill he shall be licensed to the contrarie.' 2 

Had he been imprisoned, how different the story of his 
life and accomplishments might have been, for ten days 
later he was dead, at the age of twenty-nine. 

Kyd, meanwhile, languished in Bridewell. 


Marlowe's Table Talk (Continued) 


FOR Elizabeth's subjects the borderland between the 
spiritual and temporal realms lay in perpetual dusk, 
guarded by terrors, lit by leaping fires; no man might 
come upon it in his quest, and not be lost for his pains. The 
Tower and keeps of the city were not the sole buffers for 
the shock of rebellion 5 churches made arsenals in every 
parish, for orthodoxy meant obedience to the state as well 
as fear of the Lord. That is why, in the chambers of the 
Privy Council, the voice of Archbishop Whitgift rose, 
occasionally, higher than the voice of Her Majesty's 
Principal Secretary, now Sir John Puckering. 

Under a lowering sky, under the dark and gabled 
houses whispering together, past shadowy doorways and 
noisy shops and taverns, a pious informer, one Richard 
Baines, picks his way to Westminster. Befitting a man who 
is bringing tidings to trouble another, he comes with ex- 
alted mien and tread. A rich garner is his a collection 
of Marlowe's blasphemous utterances, fit to make the 
righteous rage. Baines rages as he begins: <A note Con- 
taining the opinion of on(e) Christopher Marly Concern- 
ing his damnable Judgment of Religion, and scorn of 
Gods word.' x 


196 The Muses' Darling 

Nothing is known of Baines except that he brought his 
collection of Marlowiana to the authorities. But he either 
knew Marlowe himself, or he moved as an eavesdropper 
where Marlowe was known and talked about, for the 
statements he ascribes to the poet are of a piece with the 
blabbing by Kydj perhaps he interrogated Kyd in prison. 
Baines writes with passion 5 here and there, first words 
set down in the heat and zeal of composition are merely 
crossed out and others substituted. Once more, we have 
Marlowe's table talk from 1587 onwards set down 
helter-skelter as gathered by Baines: 

'That the Jndians and many Authors of antiquity haue 
assuredly writen of aboue 16 thowsand yeares agone 
whereas Adam is proued to haue lived within 6 thowsand 

'He affirmeth that Moyses was but a Jugler & that one 
Heriots being Sir W Raleighs man Can do more then he. 

'That Moyses made the Jewes to travell xl yeares in the 
wildernes, (which Jorney might haue bin done in lesse 
then one yeare) ere they Came to the promised land to 
thintent that those who were privy to most of his subtilties 
might perish and so an everlasting superstition Remain in 
the hartes of the people. 

'That the first beginning of Religioun was only to keep 
men in awe. 

'That it was an easy matter for Moyses being brought 
vp in all the artes of the Egiptians to abuse the Jewes be- 
ing a rude & grosse people. 

*That Christ was a bastard and his mother dishonest. 

'That he was the sonne of a Carpenter, and that if the 

'Marlowe's Table Talk (Continued) 197 

Jewes among whome he was borne did Crucify him theie 
best knew him and whence he Came. 

'That Christ deserved better to dy then Barrabas and 
that the Jewes made a good Choise, though Barrabas were 
both a thief and a murtherer. 

'That if there be any god or any good Religion, then it 
is in the papistes because the service of god is performed 
with more Cerimonies, as Elevation of the mass, organs, 
singing men, Shaven Crownes & eta. That all protestantes 
are Hypocriticall asses. 

'That if he were put to write a new Religion, he would 
vndertake both a more Exellent and Admirable methode 
and that all the new testament is filthily written. 

*That the woman of Samaria & her sister were whores 
& that Christ knew them dishonestly. 

'That St John the Evangelist was bedfellow to 'Christ 
and leaned alwaies in his bosome, that he vsed him as the 
sinners of Sodoma. 

'That all they that loue not Tobacco & Boies were 

'That all the apostles were fishermen and base f ellowes 
neyther of wit nor worth, that Paull only had wit but he 
was a timerous fellow in bidding men to be subiect to 
magistrates against his Conscience. 

*That he had as good Right to Coine as tEe Queen of 
England, and that he was acquainted with one Poole a 
prisoner in Newgate who hath greate Skill in mixture of 
mettals and hauing learned some thinges of him he ment 
through help of a Cunninge stamp maker to Coin ffrench 
Crownes pistoletes and English shillinges. 

198 The Muse? Darling 

'That if Christ would haue instituted the sacrament with 
more CeremoniaU Reverence it would haue bin had in 
more admiration, that it would haue bin much better be- 
ing administred in a Tobacco pipe. 

'That the Angell Gabriell was baud to the holy ghost, 
because he brought the salutation to Mary. 

'That on(e) Ric Cholmley hath Confessed that he was 
perswaded by Marloe's Reasons to become an Atheist.* 

Behind Marlowe's callous and jolting quips some of 
them mere tavern jests for a laugh from his fellows 
there rings a skeptical mind courageously arrayed against 
the superstition and abuse which are the ancient and evi- 
dently inalienable allies of religion. That it was a danger- 
ous sport, Baines's fulminating summation shows: 'These 
thinges, with many other shall by good & honest witnes 
be aproved to be his opinions and Comon Speeches and 
that this Marlow doth not only hould them himself, but 
almost into every Company he Cometh he perswades men 
to Atheism willing them not to be afeard of bugbeares 
and hobgoblins, and vtterly scorning both god and his 
ministers as J Richard Baines will Justify & approue both 
by mine oth and the testimony of many honest men, and 
almost al men with whome he hath Conversed any time 
will testify the same, and as J think all men in Christian- 
ity ought to indevor that the mouth of so dangerous a 
member may be stopped, he saith likewise that he hath 
quoted a number of Contrarieties oute of the Scripture 
which he hath giuen to some great men who in Convenient 
time shalbe named. When these thinges shalbe Called in 
question the witnes shalbe produced.* 2 

Marlowe's Table Talk (Continued) 199 

Righteous anger has clouded Baines's prose 5 his last 
personal pronoun may refer to Cholmley or Kyd, but it 
may also refer to Marlowe. This much is clear Mar- 
lowe's reckless quips, apparently tossed off in any and all 
company during his life in London, had reached a cumula- 
tive climax which involved others who now stood in peril 
from him. 

The informer had referred to 'some great men who in 
Convenient time shalbe named.' He also offered to pro- 
duce witnesses. This is intriguing, in view of immediate 
and subsequent happenings. 

A copy of the 'Note' was made for the perusal of Queen 
Elizabeth. It was endorsed: 

Copye of Marloes 

As sent to her Highness? 

It was not sent posthaste, however. 

Two items concern us here an omission and an addi- 
tion in Baines's text. The phrase, 'being Sir W Raleighs 
man 3 no longer appears j while in the margin of the para- 
graph about Cholmley, Marlowe's atheist convert, are the 
words, c he is layd for.' 

There is a sinister conjunction here; much could be 
made of it. 

Cholmley had been in government service. A double- 

2OO The Muses' Darling 

dealer at heart, he had finally rebelled against his em- 
ployers. In 'Remembraunces of wordes and matter against 
Richard Cholmeley', 4 on file with the authorities, it was 
written: 'he speaketh in generall all euil of the Counsell,' 
and that 'being imployed by some of her Maiesties prevy 
Counsaile for the apprehension of Papistes, and other 
daungerous men, hee vsed, as he saieth, to take money of 
them and would let them pass in spighte of the Counsell.' 
The same paper reveals: 'hee saieth & verely beleueth that 
one Marlowe is able to shewe more sounde reasons for 
Atheisme then any devine in Englande is able to geue to 
prove devinitie & that Marloe tolde him that hee hath 
read the Atheist lecture to S r Walter Raliegh & others. 5 

What Marlowe's atheist lecture was there is no way of 
learning} perhaps the 'Contrarieties oute of the Scripture' 
cited by Baines. Cholmley obviously was acquainted with 
Marlowe; under what circumstances, we can only con- 
jecture. But, as usual, the poet had talked recklessly. 
Baines had barely linked him to Raleigh, through his 
'man' Harriot. Cholmley left nothing to inference. But 
was it not Raleigh and his friends whom Baines meant in 
that threatening reference to 'some great men who in 
Convenient time shalbe named'? And if his declaration 
concerning Marlowe, that 'all men in Christianity ought 
to indevor that the mouth of so dangerous a member may 
be stopped,' was an incitement to murder, as some writers 
believe, to whom would it have appealed? 

Kyd was b prison, and talking about Marlowe's atheism 
and Marlowe's associates. Baines and Cholmley corrobo- 
rated Kyd. What might not Marlowe himself reveal if 

Marlowe's Table Talk (Continued) 2OI 

newly examined on the rack, for example, like Kyd? 

These might have been matters for Raleigh to ponder* 5 
At what would he have stopped to ward off peril to him- 
self? 'If ever man drew vertue out of necessity, it was 
he.' 6 In a poem of great strength and great bitterness he 
even had written that homicide was justifiable: 

Because to giue the lie, 

deserues no lesse than stabbing. 

As their Lordships of the Privy Council still hesitated 
over the copy of Baines's report, deferred in the sending, 
Marlowe lay dead, stabbed in the head by a dagger. With 
this news, a Council scribe crossed out the heading and 
wrote in its place: 'A Note deliuered on Whitsun eve last 
of the most horrible blasphemes vtteryd by Christofer 
Marly who within iii dayes after came to a soden and f ear- 
full end of his life.' 7 


The 'Death of Marlowe. 


IT IS Wednesday evening, May 30, 1593. 
In a room of Eleanor Bull's tavern in Deptford, 
across the Thames from London, there are assembled 
four men who, after a day of talking and drinking, are 
c in quiet sort together.' Before the light faded, and the 
land grew dark, they had walked in the garden belonging 
to the tavern, and then returned to the room, where they 
together and in company supped.' 

They are Christopher Marlowe, and three men whom 
we have but glimpsed before a conspectus, or hangman's 
summary, therefore, may be useful: 

1. Ingram Frizer, servant to Thomas Walsingham. 

2. Nicholas Skeres, his follower, who is to reappear in 
the records as working a fraud or two in concert with him. 

3. Robert Poley, spy and complotter. 

Although the scholars have been to some pains to show 
that at least two of these men were not Marlowe's social 
inferiors, the poet's last day on earth was talked away in 
the company of a deep and devious trio, viewed from any 
angle but the pedantic. And yet I do not believe that Mar- 
lowe was lured into an assassin's ambush. He was not the 
first Doet to find delierht in the society of rogues. One of 


The Death of Marlowe 203 

his companions was a man of parts and conversation 
Poley, who was able to brag, apparently truthfully, after 
a battle of wits with the redoubtable Walsingham, that 
'he putt Mr. Secretary into that heate that he looked out 
of his wyndoe and grynned like a dogge.' As for the 
others, they were, at the least, dabblers like himself in 
affairs of state. Good talk he would have had there at 
Widow Bull's; perhaps good food, certainly good cheer, 
for they drank considerably. London was plague-ridden } 
Marlowe nevertheless had to stay dose at hand by order 
of the Privy Council, and suburban Deptford, lying be- 
tween Scadbury and the metropolis, was convenient from 
every point of view. What the talk was about is not 
known; it was not disclosed in the aftermath. Nor is there 
any way of learning why the four men happened to come 
together in Deptford, although it is not beyond conjec- 
ture. Thomas Walsingham may have sent his man Frizer 
to inquire after Marlowe. Poley, who had returned that 
day from The Hague, may have set out from Scadbury 
with Frizer and Skeres, 

This, then, is the setting half in light, half in shadow. 
Marlowe has been about ten hours in their company. 
They have dined and strolled and supped, and are now 
in their room. Marlowe, perhaps feeling the liquor he has 
had, is stretched out on a bed. Frizer is at a table with his 
back to Marlowe or so he will shortly swear and his 
dagger hangs at his back, for comfort* At one end of the 
table is Poley; at the other, Skeres. They are playing 

There is a sudden scuffle; a thrust; and three men stand 

2O4 The Muses' Darling 

huddled together. Perhaps Mistress Bull burst into the 
room, saw the body, the poet's head streaked with clotted 
red, and then, with a cry of horror, turned and rushed out. 
A buzz rises from the street. In front of the tavern, a 
cluster of excited Deptford citizens fills the air with an 
ominous murmur. 


For more than twenty-four hours the body of Christo- 
pher Marlowe lay in the room of the tavern in Deptford. 
Then came William Danby, Her Majesty's coroner, to 
view it and impanel a jury for the inquest, for Deptford 
was 'within the verge,' that is, within twelve miles of the 
sovereign's person, and officers of her household had taken 
charge of the proceedings. Frizer, Poley and Skeres, 
meanwhile, were under arrest. 

It is Friday, June I. Coroner Danby calls his jurymen 
together, explains what he has learned of the killing, cites 
the law, and lets them view the body: 'Kent / Inquisition 
indented taken at Detf ord Strand in the aforesaid County 
of Kent within the verge on the first day of June in the 
year of the reign of Elizabeth by the grace of God of 
England France & Ireland Queen defender of the faith 
&c thirty-fifth, in the presence of William Danby, Gentle- 
man, Coroner of the household of our said lady the 
Queen, upon view of the body of Christopher Morley, 
there lying dead & slain.' 

The inquisition 5 does not tell us where the body was 
viewed, or what position it was in if in the tavern, as I 

The Death of Marlowe 205 

assume, whether on the bed or on the floor. Was the fatal 
dagger sheathed in Marlowe's head or in Frizer's scab- 
bard? It names the jury all worthy and law-abiding 
men Nicholas Draper, Gentleman, Wolstan Randall, 
gentleman, William Curry, Adrian Walker, John Barber, 
Robert Baldwyn, Giles ffeld, George Halfepenny, Henry 
Awger, James Batt, Henry Bendyn, Thomas Batt senior, 
John Baldwyn, Alexander Burrage, Edmund Good- 
cheepe, & Henry Dabyns and they give back to the 
coroner, and to posterity, the story they heard told, 'that 
when a certain Ingram ffrysar, late of London, Gentle- 
man, and the aforesaid Christopher Morley and one 
Nicholas Skeres, late of London, Gentleman, and Robert 
Poley of London aforesaid, Gentleman, on the thirtieth 
day of May in the thirty-fifth year above named, at Det- 
ford Strand aforesaid in the County of Kent within the 
verge, about the tenth hour before noon of the same day, 
met together in a room in the house of a certain Eleanor 
Bull, widowj & there passed the time together & dined 
& after dinner were in quiet sort together there & walked 
in the garden belonging to the said house until the sixth 
hour after noon of the same day & then returned from 
the said garden to the room aforesaid & there together and 
in company supped} & after supper the said Ingram & 
Christopher Morley were in speech & uttered one to the 
other divers malicious words for the reason that they could 
not be at one nor agree about the payment of the sum of 
pence, that is, le recknynge y there; & the said Christopher 
Morley then lying upon a bed in the room where they 
supped, & moved with anger against the said Ingram 

206 The Muses* Darling 

ffrysar upon the words as aforesaid spoken between them, 
And the said Ingram then & there sitting in the room 
aforesaid with his back towards the bed where the said 
Christopher Morley was then lying, sitting near the bed, 
that is, nere the bed, & with the front part of his body 
towards the table & the aforesaid Nicholas Skeres & Robert 
Poley sitting on either side of the said Ingram in such a 
manner that the same Ingram ffrysar in no wise could 
take flight: it so befell that the said Christopher Morley 
on a sudden & of his malice towards the said Ingram afore- 
thought, then & there maliciously drew the dagger of the 
said Ingram which was at his back, and with the same 
dagger the said Christopher Morley then & there mali- 
ciously gave the aforesaid Ingram two wounds on his head 
of the length of two inches & of the depth of a quarter of 
an inchj whereupon the said Ingram, in fear of being 
slain, & sitting in the manner aforesaid between the said 
Nicholas Skeres & Robert Poley so that he could not in 
any wise get away, in his own defence & for the saving 
of his life, then & there struggled with the said Christo- 
pher Morley to get back from him his dagger aforesaid} 
in which affray the same Ingram could not get away from 
the said Christopher Morleyj and so it befell in that affray 
that the said Ingram, in defence of his life, with the dag- 
ger aforesaid of the value of izd. gave the said Chris- 
topher then & there a mortal wound over his right eye of 
the depth of two inches & of the width of one inch} of 
which mortal wound the aforesaid Christopher Morley 
then & there instantly died.' 

The Death of Marlowe 207 

This, of course, is Frizer's account, corroborated by 
Poley and Skeres, whose lives were also in peril. 

We are not told whether Eleanor Bull was questioned, 
or why Marlowe, Frizer, Skeres and Poley had met at 
her house. We do not know whether she or any other in- 
mate of her house heard sounds of a quarrel on that fatal 
night, or whether, after the stabbing, aid was summoned, 
and by whom. The coroner's 'inquisition' tells us much, 
but leaves so much untold as to be baffling. 

Was Frizer's dagger an ordinary fiat blade? If so, the 
wound described would be almost impossible to inflict, 
save with determination born of intent. Was it a poniard, 
as some writers say, with a triangular or square blade? A 
blow with a poniard would account for the fatal wound. 

There was a dispute over the bill. But there were two 
others present who had also eaten and drunk, and whose 
say in the matter was as great as either Marlowe's or 
Frizer's. It is not a point that seems to have occurred to 
Danby and his jury. 

Frizer found it impossible, he said, to get away from 
Marlowe's sudden attack. But the table could have been 
pushed forward or overturned, or Poley and Skeres could 
have shoved the table aside, or rushed in, between the bed 
and the table, to separate the two men. What were they 
doing while the fight was in progress, for apparently it 
was not a matter of seconds? If this question was asked 
of them, the answer was not thought worth setting down. 

The .evidence of homicide in self-defense dwindles to 
Frizer's two scalp wounds and his uncontested story of 
the fatal assault. Commentators, studying Danby's docu- 

208 The Muses* Darling 

ment and cogitating the probabilities, have been skeptical. 
Not so his true sixteen: 'And so the Jurors aforesaid say 
upon their oath that the said Ingram killed & slew Chris- 
topher Morley aforesaid on the thirtieth day of May in 
the thirty-fifth year named above at Detf ord Strand afore- 
said within the verge in the room aforesaid in the defence 
and saving of his own life, against the peace of our said 
lady the Queen, her now crown & dignity} And further 
the said Jurors say upon their oath that the said Ingram 
after the slaying aforesaid perpetrated & done by him in 
the manner & form aforesaid neither fled nor withdrew 
himself. 5 * But how long Frizer and his cronies waited be- 
fore making the killing known, or whether the deed was 
first announced by another, does not appear. 

The inquest over, Marlowe's body was borne off to the 
graveyard of St. Nicholas church, beside the royal docks 
of Deptford. What ^obsequies were said, or if they were 
left unsaid, and who followed the corpse of the poet to 
its final resting place, we do not know. But when earth 
had it, within the church, one of the religious, whom God 
had afflicted with deafness, wrote in the burial register: 

Christopher Marlow slaine by ffrancis 
ffrezer j the I of June. 

As the first step towards a royal pardon, Frizer imme- 
diately petitioned to bring his case into the Court of 
Chancery. On June 15 a writ of certiorari went to Coroner 

The Death of Marlowe 209 

Danby from the Queen: 'Elizabeth by the grace of God 
of England France & Ireland Queen Defender of the 
Faith &c To our well-beloved William Danby, Gentle- 
man, Coroner of our household, greeting. Wishing for 
certain causes to be certified upon an indictment made in 
your presence concerning the death of Christopher Mor- 
ley, upon view of the body of the same Christopher, at 
Detforde Strande in our County of Kent within the verge 
lying dead and slain, whence a certain Ingram ffrysar, 
late of London, Gentleman, is indicted (as by the record 
thence remaining with you it fully appears) And whether 
the same Ingram slew the aforesaid Christopher in self- 
defence, & not feloniously or of malice aforethought, so 
that in no other wise could he avoid his own death, or not 5 
we command you to send the tenor of the indictment 
aforesaid with everything touching it and whatsoever 
names the parties aforesaid in that indictment are known 
by, to us in our Chancery under your seal distinctly & 
openly without delay, & with this your writ.' 2 

In reply, Danby submitted the inquisition made June 
i, and Frizer was all but a free man, and with him his 
companions. Two weeks later Queen Elizabeth pardoned 
the slayer of her former servant. The pardon repeats 
Danby's inquisition almost word for word, and ends as 
follows: <We therefore moved by piety have pardoned 
the same Ingram ffrisar the breach of our peace which 
pertains to us against the said Ingram for the death above 
mentioned & grant to him our firm peace Provided never- 
theless that the right remain in our Court if anyone should 
wish to complain of him concerning the death above men- 

2io The Muses' Darling 

tioned In testimony &c Witness the Queen at Kewe on 
the 28th day of June.' 8 

None, apparently, wished to complain, and the man in 
whose behalf her Privy Council had struck out six years 
before was forgotten. Not so some of his friends. On the 
following day, June 29, Justice Richard Young, one of 
Her Majesty's justices dealing with religious cases, had 
occasion to inform the Privy Council of a catch in the far- 
flung government net: 'yestar night, at ix of the cloke, 
Mr. Wilbrom came to me and brought Richard Chomley 
with him; he did submet hym selfe to hym.' And with the 
following sardonic remark Marlowe's 'disciple' slips be- 
yond the margin of Justice Young's report and out of 
sight: 'Chomley sayd vnto my men as he was goyng to 
preson, that he did kno the Law, that when it came to 
pase, he cold shefte will ynowgh.' * 


Reckless Raleigh 

IT MIGHT be supposed, with Cholmley nabbed, and 
. other recent happenings, that Sir Walter Raleigh, 
living in temporary retirement in the Norman castle the 
Queen had given him at Sherborne, Dorsetshire, would 
forego controversial talk touching religion at least be- 
fore those who could turn it to his harm. But it was not 
in the nature of the man to do so. 

One day in the memorable summer of 1593, he and his 
half-brother Carew rode over to Wolverton to sup at the 
house of Sir George Trenchard. Prominent among the 
guests were Sir Ralph Horsey, Lord Lieutenant of the 
County, and the Reverend Ralph Ironside, minister of 
Winterbottom, who had brought with him a fellow min- 
ister and friend, the Reverend Mr. Whittle, vicar of 
Forthington. Supper went smoothly, until the wine Carew 
Raleigh had been imbibing loosened his tongue. What 
followed was reported to the Privy Council and then set 
down in writing by the Reverend Mr. Ironside for the 
perusal of a royal commission that came to investigate 
atheism and apostasy in Dorsetshire. 

Deposed the divine: c Towardes the end of supper some 
loose speeches of Mr. Carewe Rawleighes beinge gentlye 


212 The Muses' Darling 

reproved by Sir Raulfe Horsey in these wordes Colloquia 
prava corrumpunt bones mores. a / Mr Rawleigh de- 
maundes of me, what daunger he might incurr by such 
speeches? whervnto I aunswered, the wages of sinn is 
death, and he makinge leight of death as being common 
to all sinner & reightuous; I inferred further, that as that 
liffe which is the gifte of god through Jesus Christ, is 
life eternall: soe that death which is properlye the wages 
of sinne, is death eternall, both of the bodye, and of the 
soule alsoe.' 

This nettled: 'Soule quoth Mr Carewe Rawleigh, what 
is that? 5 

Equally nettled, the divine replied: 'Better it were that 
we would be carefull howe the Soules might be saved, 
then to be curiouse in findinge out ther essence.' 

At this point, Sir Walter entered the discussion, saying: 
'I have benn a scholler some tyme in Oxeforde, I have 
aunswered vnder a Bachelor of Arte, & had taulke with 
diuines, yet heithervnto in this pointe (to witt what the 
reasonable soule of man is) have I not by anye benne 

After some urging, Mr. Ironside attempted a definition 
by way of Aristotle's De Anima, but Sir Walter objected 
that it was 'obscure, & intricate,' and the divine tried again: 
'The reasonable soule is a sperituall & immortall substance 
breathed into man by god, wherby he lyves & moves & 
vnderstandeth, & soe is distinguished from other Crea- 

*Evil communications corrupt good manners. 

Raleigh 213 

'Yea but what is that sperituall & immortall substance 
breathed into man &c. saieth Sir Walter. 

'The soule quoth L 

<Naye then saieth he you aunswer not like a scholler.* 

Before the reverend gentleman's pious generalities, 
Raleigh's contempt blazed forth. He had been drawn into 
the discussion, perhaps even against his inclination 5 cer- 
tain it is, at least, that he did not begin it; but now that 
he had taken a stand, he would not draw back, Sir 
Ralph's presence notwithstanding. In the darkening room 
where faces glowed like lamps in the candle-light, his 
mind, skilled in logic and experience, began to glow like 
a jewel. 

Pained at the aspersion on his scholarship, Mr. Ironside 
spluttered and writhed 5 in his own statement: 'I endev- 
oured to prove that it was schollerlike, naye in such dis- 
putes as these, vsuall, & necessary e to runne in circulumj 
partlye because definicio rei was primum et immediatum 
principuum, and seinge primo non est prius, a man must 
of necessitie come backwarde & partelye becawse definicio 
& definitum be nature reciproce the one convertiblie aun- 
sweringe vnto the question made vppon the other. As for 
example, if one aske what is a man? you will saye he is a 
creature reasonable & mortally but if you aske againe. 
what is a creature reasonable & mortal!, you must of force 
come backwarde, and aunswer, it is a man.* 

The tree of hisi thought had shaken down a scatter of 
learned Latin scraps like leaden leaves, but now the tree 
stood naked to the wind of his opponents wit: c We have 
principles in our mathematickes $ayeth Sir Walter,, a 

214 The Muses' Darling 

totum est minus quamlibet sua parte. and aske me of it, 
and I can showe it in the table in the window in a man 
the whole beinge bigger then the partes of it.' 

This is Ironside's recollection of what Raleigh said} 
we can only imagine the manner and the form in which 
he heard it the marshalled words sent forth in glittering 
array to storm and take the minister's heights with axiom 
and art. Pressed hard now, Ironside fell back on his earlier 
manner, piously: C I replied first that he showed quod est, 
not, quid est, that it was but not what it wasj secondlye, 
that such demonstracion as that was against the nature of 
a mans soule being a sperite. for as his thinges beinge' 
sensible were subiecte to the sence; soe mans soule being 
insensible was to be discerned by the sperite. nothinge 
more certaine in the worlde then that there is a god, yet 
beinge a sperite to subiecte him to the sence otherwise then 
perfected it is impossible.' 

'Marrye quoth Sir Walter these 2 be like for neither 
coulde I lerne heitherto what god is.' 

At this, a gentleman at the table of Sir George Trench- 
ard remarked 'that Aristotle shoulde saye he was Ens, 
Encium,' and the Rev. Mr. Ironside took it up: 'that god 
was ens entium a thinge of thinge havinge beinge of him 
selfe, & geivinge beinge to all creatures, it was most cer- 
taine, and confirmed by god him selfe vnto moyses.' 

Tea but what is this ens entium sayeth Sir Walter?' 

I aunswered it is God.' 

Perhaps Raleigh now became aware of the expressions 
on the faces around him, for he requested that grace might 

Reckless Raleigh 215 

be said by Mr. Ironside, 'for that quoth he is better then 
this disputacion.' 
Thus went one summer evening in Elizabeth's England. 


Her Highnesses Commission for Causes Ecclesiastical 
met at Cerne Abbas on March 21, 1594. Its two most 
important members were Thomas Viscount Howard of 
Bindon and Sir Ralph Horsey, Lord Lieutenant of the 
County of Dorsetshire, who had reproved Carew Raleigh 
at Sir George Trenchard's table, only to be regaled by 
Sir Walter. To guide them in their work the commis- 
sioners used nine 'Interrogatories to be ministred vnto 
such as ar to be examined. 5 The ghost of Marlowe haunts 
the fourth: 'Item whome doe you knowe or have harde 
that hath spoken againste the truth of god his holye worde 
revealed to vs in the scriptures of the oulde & newe testa- 
ment? or of some places therof? or have sayde those 
scriptures ar not to be believed & defended by her maiestie 
for doctrine, & faith, and salvacion, but onlye of policye, 
or Civell gouernment, and when & where was the same? 
And what other notice can you geive of anye such of- 
fender? 3 The others, and some of the answers to them, 
reveal that Raleigh and his friends had opened a provincial 
branch of the London 'school of atheism, 3 with a star 
pupil its ornament, one Lieutenant Thomas Allen of Port- 
land Castle, a gallant with a grim and reckless humor 
the fifth and sixth questions enshrine two of his mots: 
'Item whome doe you knowe or have harde hath blasphe- 

21 6 The Muses' Darling 

mouslye cursed god: as in sayinge one time (as it rayned 
when he was a hawkinge) if there be a god A poxe on that 
god which sendeth such weather to marr our sporte? Item 
whome doe you knowe or have harde to have sayde, when 
he was dead his soule shoulde be hanged on the topp of a 
poale, and ronne god, ronne devill, and fetch it that 
woulde have it, or to like effecte?' 

The answers to the 'interrogatories' leave no doubt as 
to the quarry: 

John Jesopp, minister of Gillingham, sworn and ex- 
amined, deposed that he 'hath harde that one Herryott 
of Sir Walter Rawleigh his howse hath brought the god- 
hedd in question, and the whole course of the scriptures 
but of whome he soe harde it he doth not remember.' 

William Hussey, churchwarden of Gillingham, 'hath 
harde Sir Walter Rawleigh susspected of Atheisme.' 

John Davis, curate of Motcombe, 'hath harde Sir Wal- 
ter Rawleigh by generall reporte hath had some reason- 
inge against the dietye of god, and his omnipotencye. And 
hath harde the like of Mr Carewe Rawleigh, but not soe 

Nicholas Jefferys, parson of Weeke Reges, went into 
some detail, he having a personal grievance: 'To the first 
Interogatory this deponent sayeth that he doth not knowe 
of his owne knowledge anye Atheistes within the Countie 
of Dorset or places neare adioyninge: but he hard by re- 
porte of divers that Sir Walter Rawleigh and his retenewe 
ar generallye susspected of Atheismej and especially one 
Allen of Portland Castle Leiftenant, And that he is a 

Reckless Raleigh 217 

greate blasphemer & leight esteemer of Religion} and 
thereaboutes cometh not to Devine service or sermons. 

<To the 3 he sayeth he hath harde that one Herriott 
attendant on Sir Walter Rawleigh hath ben convented 
before the Lordes of the counsell for denyinge the resur- 
reccion of the bodye. 

*To the 6 th Interogatory this deponent sayeth That 
aboute some three yeres paste cominge to Blandforde out 
of Hampsheire his horse was stayed & taken for a poste 
horse by Sir Walter Rawleigh & Mr Carewe Rawleigh} 
where this deponent entreatinge to have his horse released 
for that he was to ride home vnto his charge (from whence 
he had bene some tyme absent) to preach the nexte daye 
beinge sundaye, whervnto Mr Carewe Rawleigh replyed, 
that he this deponent might goe home where he woulde} 
but his horse shoulde preach before him. 5 * 

Whether Raleigh himself or any of his retinue appeared 
before the examining commissioners is not known. Noth- 
ing seems to have resulted from the interrogatories except 
a lively text. There is no record of Harriot before the 
Privy Council, the parson of Weeke Reges notwithstand- 

But by devious ways, and in strange places, the whispers 
of atheism followed all whom Marlowe had known. 
Greene died repentant. Raleigh (while Elizabeth lived) 
and his follower Harriot somehow warded oflF evil. 
Cholmley was *layd for' and imprisoned. Out of the once 
dazzling roster, one name remains. The fate of the man 
who bore it was the least spectacular} and yet, perhaps, he 
was most to be pitied 


The End of Kyd 


THE man for whom Marlowe had played unwit- 
tingly, let us think the role of evil angel was 
destined also to a tragic end. 

It is not difficult to piece the remainder of Thomas 
Kyd's story together from the records that have escaped 
destruction. He dwells in them, the prisoner of his grief; 
his bruised spirit beats its wings against his words forever. 

We have seen how he characterized his former room- 
mate so that we seem to hear that distant, sardonic jester 
and blasphemer; we will now see a portrait of Kyd, by 
himself, etched in bitterness, and an addition, in hatred, 
to his picture of Marlowe. 

It was not only that three sheets of an ancient theologi- 
cal dispute, copied out, had been found in his possession; 
from the imputation of heresy to the charge of atheisnf 
was but a step and an informer took it. Between Kyd's 
arrest and Marlowe's death, someone lodged that fatal 
allegation with the authorities perhaps the same Baines 
who had served Marlowe likewise. When that new stigma 
was once fastened on Kyd, he was a shunned man; the 
abhorrence with which he was thereafter regarded could 

The End of Kyd 219 

not have been greater if he had come among men with the 
marks of the plague upon him. 

The Lord Mayor's commissioners finally let him go. 
Emerging from prison, Kyd called on his master. He was 
received with caution. But he was apparently given to un- 
derstand that if the authorities would send word that he 
was exonerated that no further molestation was in store 
for him he would be reinstated in his old post. Weak 
and emaciated after weeks of confinement and torture, the 
once proud, once successful author made his way to West- 
minster for an audience with Sir John Puckering, Lord 
Keeper of the Great Seal of England and now chief of- 
ficer of Her Majesty's Privy Council. And he learned, 
as Dante had learned, as other after him have learned, 
'How steep the stairs to great men's houses are.' 

The interview turning out unsatisfactory, Kyd tried his 
luck with a letter j the pen stayed in his hand until all his 
heart's anguish was on paper: 'At my last being with your 
Lordship to entreate some speaches from you in my favor 
to my Lorde, whoe (though I thinke he rest not doubtfull 
of myne inocence) hath yet in his discreeter iudgment 
feared to offende in his reteyning me, without your honors 
former pryvitiej So is it no we Right Honorable that the 
denyall of that favor (to my thought resonable) hath 
mov'de me to coniecture some suspicion, that Your Lord- 
ship holds me in, concerning Atheisme, a deadlie thing 
which I was undeserved chargd withall, & therfore have 
I thought it requisite, aswell in dutie to your Lordship, & 
the Lawes, as also in the feare of god, & freedom of my 
conscience, therein to satisfie the world and you. 3 

22O The Muses' Darling 

His hand shakes, his mind is on fire, as he marshals his 
arguments, then the shadow of Marlowe falls across his 
page: 'The first and most (thoughe insufficient surmize) 
that euer [? once] therein might be raisde of me, grewe 
thus. When I was first suspected for that Libell that con- 
cern'd the state, amongst those waste and idle papers 
(which I carde not for) & which vnaskt I did deliuer vp, 
were f ounde some fragments of a disputation, toching that 
opinion, affirmed by Marlowe to be his, and shufled with 
some of myne (vnknowne to me) by some occasion of our 
wrytinge in one chamber twoe yeares synce.' 

He is careful not to say that the fragments of religious 
disputation are in Marlowe's handwriting, although if he 
could have shown that they were he could have saved 
himself much pain. He omits the matter of handwriting 
altogether, and I think it is significant that he does: for 
the professional script in which the pages are written are 
more likely to have been from his pen than from Mar- 
lowe's. Perhaps Marlowe had paid him, as a professional 
penman, to copy them out for him another humiliation. 

The shadow looms to ogre size: <My first acquaintance 
with this Marlowe, rose vpon his bearing name to serve 
my Lord although his Lordship never knewe his service, 
but in writing for his plaiers, ffor never cold my Lord 
endure his name, or sight, when he had heard of his con- 
ditions, nor wold in deed the forme of devyne praiers 
vsed duelie in his Lordships house, haue quadred with 
such reprobates. 

'That I shold loue or be familer frend, with one so 
irreligious, were verie rare, when Tullie saith Digni sunt 

The End of Kyd 221 

quibus in if sis inest causa cur diligantur a which 
neither was in him, for person, quallities, or honestie, be- 
sides he was intemperate & of a cruel hart, the verie con- 
traries to which, my greatest enemies will saie by me. 

'It is not to be nombred amongst the best conditions of 
men, to taxe or to opbraide the deade Quiz mortui non 
mordent* But thus muche haue I (with your Lordships 
favor) dared in the greatest cause, which is to cleere my 
self of being thought an Atheist y which some will sweare 
he was. 

*ffor more assurance that I was not of that vile opin- 
ion, Lett it but please your Lordship to enquire of such 
as he conversd withall, that is (as I am geven to vnder- 
stand) with Harriot y Warner y Royden and some station- 
ers in Paules churchyard, whom I in no sort can accuse 
nor will excuse by reson of his companie, of whose consent 
if I had been, no question but I also shold haue been of 
their consort, for ex tmnimo vestigio artifex agnosdt 

He was not of those usually found in Marlowe's com- 
pany, but he names three members of Raleigh's group 
who werej although suddenly cautious, he parenthetically 
hedges his allegation perhaps because he did not want 
Sir John to think he actually knew them^ or there might 
be reprisals, and he has left himself a way out. Now he 
resumes: c Of my religion & Life I haue alredie geven 
some instance to the Late comissioners & of my reverend 

a Those are worthy of friendship in whom there resides a cause why 
they should be esteemed. 
b Because the dead do not bite. 
c The craftsman recognizes craft by the slightest trace. 

222 The Muses' Darling 

meaning to the state, although perhaps my paines and 
vndeserved tortures felt by some, wold haue ingendred 
more impatience when Lesse by farr hath dryven so 
manye imo extra caulas d which it shall never do with me. 

'But whatsoeuer I haue felt Right honorable this is my 
request not for reward but in regard of my trewe inocence 
that it wold please your Lordships so to [? mark] the 
same & me, as I maie still reteyne the favors of my Lord, 
whom I haue servd almost theis vj yeres nowe, in credit 
vntill nowe, & nowe am vtterlie vndon without herein be 
somewhat donn for my recoverie. ffor I do knowe his 
Lordship holdes your honors & the state in that dewe 
reverence, as he wold no waie move the Leste suspicion 
of his Loves and cares both towards hir sacred Maiestie 
your Lordships and the Lawes wherof when tyme shall 
serve I shall geue greater instance which I haue observd.' 

The word 'reward' in the foregoing paragraph strikes 
a jarring note. Had Kyd turned informer? Is that why, 
with bitterness welling up anew, he now hits back at the 
informer who lodged the charge of atheism against him? 
For this is how he concludes his epistle, quoting Cicero 
and St. Paul: c As for the Libel Laide vnto my chardg I 
am resolued with receyving of ye sacrament to satisfie your 
Lordships & the World that I was neither agent nor con- 
senting thervnto. Howebeit if some outcast Ismael for 
want or of his owne dispose to lewdnes, haue with pretext 
of duetie or religion, or to reduce himself to that he was 
not borne vnto by enie waie incensd your Lordships to 
suspect me, I shall besech in all humillitie & in the f eare 

d Even outside the fold. 

The End of Kyd. 223 

of god that it will please your Lordships but to censure 
me as I shall prove my self, and to repute them as they ar 
in deed Cum totius iniustitae nulla cafitalior sit quam 
eorum, qui turn cum maxima jallunt id agunt *vt viri boni 
esse w&eantur* ffor doubtles even then your Lordships 
shalbe sure to breake [? into] their Lewde designes and 
see into the truthe, when but their Lyues that herein haue 
accused me shalbe examined & rypped vp effectually, soe 
male I chaunce with $aul to Liue & shake the vyper of 
my hand into the fier for which the ignorant suspect me 
guiltie of the former shipwrack. And thus (for nowe I 
feare me I growe teadious) assuring your good Lordship 
that if I knewe eny whom I cold iustlie accuse of that 
damnable offence to the awefull Maiestie of god or of 
that other mutinous sedition towrd the state I wold as 
willinglie reveale them as I wold request your Lordships 
better thoughtes of me that neuer haue offended you.' 1 
Something might be made of the image he chose from 
Paul perhaps it sprang from subconscious knowledge of 
the pen that copied the disputation. 


If Kyd hoped to be recalled by Sir John Puckering for 

a pious account of his master's life, in which he would 
show to advantage, as being employed by him, he was 
disappointed. A request came instead for him to elaborate 

* Since of all injustice none is more pernicious than that of those who, 
when they most deeply deceive, do it in such manner that they shall 
seem good men. 

224 The Muses' Darling 

Marlowe's 'opinion' and the cautious reference to the late 
poet's intimates. He might have learned from this that 
his personal problem was not the concern of the great 
men in Her Majesty's government, but he complied 
eagerly as regards the second item, once more cautiously: 
Tleaseth it your honorable Lordship toching marlowes 
monstruous opinions as I cannot but with an agreved con- 
science think on him or them so can I but particulariz f ewe 
in the respect of them that kept him greater company* 
Howbeit in discharg of dutie both towardes god your 
Lordships & the world thus much haue I thought good 
breiflie to discover in all humbleness. 

^ffirst it was his custom when I knewe him first & as I 
heare saie he contynewd it in table talk or otherwise to 
iest at the devine scriptures gybe at praiers, &'$tryve in 
argument to frustrate & confute what hath byn spoke or 
wrytt by prophets & such holie menn. 

c i. He would report St John to be our savior Christes 
Alexis I cover it with reverence and trembling that is thai 
Christ did loue him with an extraordinary loue. 

C 2. That for me to wryte a poem of St $aules conversion 
as I was determined he said wold be as if I shold go 
wryte a book of fast & loose, esteeming Paul a Jugler. 

'3. That the prodigall Childes portion was but fower 
nobles, he held his purse so neere the bottom in all pic- 
tures, and that it either was a iest or els f owr nobles then 
was thought a great patrimony not thinking it a parable, 

C 4- That things esteemed to be donn by devine power 
might haue aswell been don by observation of men all 
which he wold so sodenlie take slight occasion to slyp out 

The End of Kyd 22$ 

as I & many others in regard of his other rashnes in at- 
tempting soden pryvie iniuries to men did ouerslypp 
thogh often reprehend him for it & for which god is my 
witnes aswell by my lordes comaundment as in hatred of 
his life & thoughts I left & did refraine his companie.' 

We have seen this table talk before it dates back two 
years to the time Kyd and Marlowe shared chambers to- 
gether. The reference to Marlowe's c rashnes in attempting 
soden pryvie iniuries to men' may be an echo of Frizer's 
recent account of the sudden assault from behind in the 
room in Deptford. But if Kyd really left Marlowe's com- 
pany and stayed away, as he claimed, what are we to make 
of his final accusation? <He wold perswade with men of 
quallitie to goe vnto the k[m^] of Scotts whether I heare 
Royden is gon and where if he had liud he told me when 
I sawe him last he meant to be.' 2 

It is apparent from this that Kyd had seen Marlowe re- 
cently after his own release from prison and before the 
killing at Deptford and if he learned that Roydon had 
gone to Scotland, it must have been from Marlowe that 
he learned it. There is no signature to this second letter, 
and it is possible that there was another sheet which has 
disappeared. But their Lordships of the Privy Council 
needed no further discrepancy to remark; although I do 
not believe they were looking for discrepancies. Kyd had 
served his turnj they had other matters to attend to} they 
forgot about him. 

A few scraps of paper, and man's perennially medieval 
mind touching religion, had undone him. 

226 The Muses 9 Darling 

Plague closed the theaters. It seemed as though the 
hand of God and man were against him in his extremity. 
His chief talent was useless. He waited for word from 
Puckering or his master, rising with hope, going to bed 
forlorn, and waited in vain. The bitterness of the poor 
and scorned for the great and affluent was hisj it poisoned 
his days. He was an outcast. 

How he survived the bitter year of 1593 we do not 
know. Towards the end of the year he set himself the 
task of translating Garnier's Cornelie original work was 
out of the question. Before the book appeared word of 
Kyd's plight reached the Countess of Sussex who, perhaps 
out of pity, proffered aid. Gratefully he dedicated the 
book to her in words that reveal his anguish: 'What grace 
that excellent Garnier hath lost by my defaulte, I shall 
beseech your Honour to repaire with the regarde of those 
so bitter times and priuie broken passions that I endured 
in the writing it. And so vouchsafing but the passing of a 
Winters weeke with desolate Cornelia, I will assure your 
Ladiship my next sommers better trauell with the tragedy 
of Portia. And euer spend one howre of the day in some 
kind seruice to your Honour, and another of the night in 
wishing you happiness.' 

Winter, however, set in. His promise was never kept. 
He fades from men's sight under a stigma, and from 
official records officially cut off by his closest kin: <Re- 
nundation of the goods of Thomas Kyd. The thirtieth 

The End of Kyd 227 

day of the month of December in the year of Our Lord 
1594, in the cathedral church of St. Paul, London, before 
the venerable Thomas Creak, Doctor of Laws, Lord Arch- 
deacon of London, officiating, etc., in the presence of me, 
Sylvester Hulett, notary public, Deputy Register, etc. 
There personally appeared Anna Kydd, wife of Francis 
Kidd, father of the said Thomas Kidd, while he lived of 
the parish o Saint Mary Colchurch, deceased, and in the 
name of her said husband, as a related person, actually 
exhibited an inventory of the said deceased person as true, 
etc., and thus far, etc., and gave over the same into the 
possession of the Register. And for divers causes and con- 
siderations (as she asserted) justly moving the mind of 
her said husband in this sense, she wholly and expressly 
renounced and refused in her husband's name (as above) 
the burden of administration and title and interest of her 
said husband in the goods, rights and credits of the said 
deceased person, now or in the future. 5 s 

What books, manuscripts and possessions soever the 
author of The Spanish Tragedie might have gathered in 
his career as a writer are dispersed among strangers, and 
unlettered humanity sounds a thin, whining and disagree- 
able note, 'although the notary put an etc. in it,' as 
Rabelais said. Did he die a martyr to the charge of atheism 
he who had boasted of his piety and the pious house- 
hold in which he had served perhaps by suicide, unable 
to endure further privation and infamy? 


Shakespeare and Harvey 


RT hath an enemy called Ignorance.' * 

We have seen Gabriel Harvey thus far as a good, 
if malicious reporter. He is about to reveal himself as 
neither one nor the other, but merely misinformed. 

It is a pity. With his nose for news, and his ear for gos- 
sip, much might have been added to our provocative 
knowledge of Marlowe's last hours. 

The summer of 1593 found Harvey -once more in Lon- 
don, and indef atigably at work on a book entitled, some- 
what exuberantly, A New Letter of Notable Contents. 
With a, straunge Sonet y intitled Gorgon, or the wonderfull 
yeare. Three months after Marlowe's death it appeared. 

It is the Epilogue to this book, dashed off, we can only 
presume, at the last moment before press time, that con- 
cerns us. It contains the first published notice of the poet's 
end. To write it, Harvey turned poet himself. 

Unfortunately, he had no real notion of the nature of 
poetry his advice to Spenser shows that. This was the 
view of the writers of his time, and his surviving verse 
bears them out. 

Harvey was not a frequenter of the suburbs. He has 
heard, in London, that Marlowe is dead, and he must 


Shakespeare and Harvey 229 

needs put the news into his book. For reasons best known 
to himself he chose to cast it in blank verse (with the first 
line an imitation of his friend Spenser's <Was it a dreame, 
or did I see it playne 7 ) : 

Is it a Dreame? or is the Highest minde 
That euer haunted Powles or hunted winde, 
Bereaft of that same sky-surmounting breath, 
That breath that taught the Tempany to swell. 

Hark now his pen is poised for a colossal blunder: 

He & the Plague contended for the game: 
The hawty man extolles his hideous thoughtes, 
And gloriously insultes upon poore soules, 
That plague themselves: for faint harts plague 

So here it is, in part} a poor thing, but his very own; a 
poem about the tragedy at Deptfordj but there is no 
tavern here, no conspirators, no quarrel and no dagger- 
man plague was the antagonist, and plague, says Harvey, 


The graund Dissease disdain'd his toade Conceit, 
And smiling at his tamberlaine contempt, 
Sternely struck-home the peremptory stroke, 
He that not feared God, nor dreaded Diu'll, 
Nor ought admired but his wondrous self e. 

230 The Muses* Darling 

Could anything be more foolish than these vain lines 
ringing with timid admiration for the dead dramatist? 
What did Harvey think of them when he learned the 
truth? What inspiration might have been his had he only 
taken the trouble to verify the circumstances of Marlowe's 
death personally, as he had done the year before when 
Greene lay dying. 

The news of Marlowe's death reached St. PauPs and 
the taverns frequented by the writers he had known a lit- 
tle more accurately. How some of them felt may be seen 
in George Peele's spontaneous apostrophe, immediately 
inserted in his new poem, The Honour of the Garter: 

Unhappy in thy end, 
Marley y the Muses' darling. 

Shakespeare's reaction was similar. 

About this time, or very shortly after, he was at work 
on Act Three of a new play to be called As You Like It. 
And ever and anon as he worked the image of Marlowe 
and of the tavern room wherein he was struck down 
flashed into his mind, attended by memories of their as- 
sociation, of the dead man's great achievements and of a 
promise that was as great. c To judge of Poets is only the 
facultie of Poetsj and not of all Poets, but the best.' 2 He 
could judge; and on this occasion he judged with regret, 
perhaps with grief. Then he put it into words, which was 

Shakespeare and Harvey 231 

relief of a sort for the present 5 later he returned to the 
theme (vide Sonnet 86), 3 for he never quite forgot the 
youth from Canterbury. 

The allusions to Marlowe in As You Like It sound 
topical. They serve no useful dramatic purpose} they en- 
large no one's character, and do not further the action of 
the play. But there they are, sprinkled throughout Act 
Three, and taken together they tell something of Shake- 
speare's feelings after hearing about the deed at Dept- 
ford. This is the first one, preparatory and tentative, but 
significantly enough, Ovid reappears at life's end as at the 
beginning of Marlowe's career: 

Touchstone. I am here with thee and thy goats, as 
the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the 

Jaques. (aside) O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse 
than Jove in a thatch'd house! 

There is nothing in this exchange to prepare one for 
the astonishing rtyoste that follows from the mouth of 
Touchstone: 'When a man's verses cannot be understood, 
nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child 
understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great 
reckoning in a little room.' 

Is not this Deptford in epitome? The reference to Mis- 
tress Bull's tavern reckoning, ostensible cause of the fatal 
quarrelj is clear enough 5 is there also to be found here a 
defense of Marlowe's table talk, which offended only 
when not rightly understood? Of the echo from a famous 

232 The Muses' Darling 

line in The Jew of Malta it is perhaps not necessary to 
say anything. 

Shakespeare returns to the theme, this time via Celia: 
'the oath of a lover is no stronger than the word of a 
tapster; they are both the confirmers of false reckonings.' 

And he takes his leave of Marlowe in this play with a 
tender saluation in homage to the poet who wrote The 
passionate Sheepheard to his loue and the greater homage 
of a borrowed line (from Hero and Leander): 

Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might: 
ever lov'd that lov'd not at first sight?' * 


'Memories of Marlowe 

TO SCADBURY in 1597 came Queen Elizabeth, 
and was sumptuously entertained by Thomas Wal- 
singham and his lady. As a result, plain Tom became Sir 
Thomas, and his wife was made a lady of Her Majesty's 
bedchamber. Soon after, two dedications attested to their 
new-gaine.d honors one to each, and both concerned 
Marlowe. For in the following year there appeared two 
editions of Hero and Leander. 

The first was important on two accounts: it gave to the 
world Marlowe's bright fragment, and contained a tribute 
to his memory, from one Renaissance gentleman to an- 
other, which offsets considerably the accounts of him 
given by his enemies. 

The second was also remarkable} it offered, in Chap- 
man's continuation of the poem, a startling apostrophe to 
Marlowe's spirit which has bewildered the scholars and 
delighted all lovers of c the Muses' darling.' 

The first, published by Edward Blount, was dedicated 
by him to Marlowe's old friend and patron, now *the 
Right Worshipfull, Sir Thomas Walsingham, Knight': 
Sir y wee thinke not our selues discharged of the dutie wee 
owe to our friend, when wee haue brought the breathlesse 


234 The Muses' Darling 

bodie to the earth: for albeit the eye there taketh his euer 
farwell of that beloued obiect> yet the impression of the 
man, that hath beene deare vnto w, liuing an after life in 
our memory, there futteth vs in mind of farther obsequies 
due vnto the deceased. And namely of the performance of 
whatsoeuer we may iudge shal make to his liuing credit, 
and to the effecting of his determination Qreuented by the 
stroke of death* 1 

The incense of pleasant hours in Marlowe's company 
rises from these lines; and there is at least a hint that 
Blount and Walsingham saw the poet buried. 

This, and the following dedication to Walsingham's 
wife, go far to neutralize a sensational thesis that the poet 
was assassinated at the instigation of Lady Audrey. It 
would have been scandalous even in that cynical era to 
accept the honor of a dedication under the circumstances. 


Now comes George Chapman, to add the candle of his 
genius to the great light that still brightened the air. A 
double opportunity lures him: honor to the dead, and 
God willing credit for the living; but if ever a lumber- 
ing wagon was hitched to a star, his continuation of Hero 
and Leander is it. Except, of course, for the apostrophe 
to Marlowe. 

Now Chapman took the business o being an author 
with great seriousness. Merely putting pen to paper, and 
paper through press, was not enough. He must go 





Tjintedby JlJ 

236 The Muses* Darling 

wreathed in bays, and Jove's lightning must dart about 
his head or, at the least, in the background. Therefore, 
in his writings, as in his portraits, one finds a considerable 
amount of mysterious matter. Thus, in his Dedication of 
the completed Hero and, Leander, he records a 'strange 
instigation' that drew him to this work, as earlier he had 
acknowledged the aid of 'that most assistful and unspeak- 
able Spirit' while translating the Iliads: 'TO MY BEST 


WALSINGHAM, one of the Ladies of Her Maiesties Bed- 
chamber. / present your Ladishfy with the last affections 
of the -first two Louers that euer Muse shrinde in the 
Temple of Memoriej being drawne by strange instigation 
to employ some of my serious time in so trifeling a subiect y 
which yet made the -first Author, diuine Musaeus, eternall? 

And so forth. It is written in Chapman's typical vein, 
affected and fawning: 'This foore Dedication (in -figure 
of the other vnitie betwixt Sir Thomas and your selfe) 
hath reioynd you with him, my honoured best friend y 
whose continuance of ancient kindnes to my still-obscured, 
estate^ though it cannot encrease my loue to him y which 
hath euer been entirely circulare; yet shall it encourage 
my deserts to their vtmost requitall y and make my hartie 
gratitude s$eake; to which the vnha'pines of my life hath 
hetherto been uncomfortable and gainful dumbnesS 2 But 
of Marlowe there is not a word. 

Yet the man had fire in himj and as soon as his con- 
tinuation of Hero and Leander was well under way, it 
blazed forth, as though the 'instigation' to which he has 
referred really meant something. For in the very midst of 

Memories of Marlowe 237 

his labors he is suddenly made aware of Marlowe's spirit 
in the sky: 

Then thou most strangely-intellectual fire, 
That proper to my soule hast power t'inspire 
Her burning faculties, and with the wings 
Of thy vnspheared flame visitst the springs 
Of spirits immortally Now (as swift as Time 
Doth follow Motion) finde th' eternall Clime 
Of his free soule, whose liuing subiect stood 
Vp to the chin in the Pyerean flood, 
And drunke to me half e this Musean storie, 
Inscribing it to deathles Memorie: 
Confer with it, and make my pledge as deepe, 
That neithers draught be consecrate to sleepe. 
Tell it how much his late desires I tender, 
(If yet it know not) and to light surrender 
My soules darke offspring, willing it should die 
To loues, to passions, and societie. 

Not all of it is understandable (it would not be Chap- 
man's if it were) ; but what is clear will serve, and serving 
it may provide the clue with which to unravel the mystery 
of Shakespeare's sonnet 86 , the sonnet of the c rival poet,' 
where the images projected by Chapman in his apostrophe 
to Marlowe are apparently repeated. 


The sonnet contains, besides the astonishing climax of 
the rival poet sequence (78-86), references to two varie- 

238 The Muses* Darling 

ties of nocturnal phenomena: viz, a ghost, and some spirits 
the former specific, the latter, general. These spirits, 
and that ghost, offer the best clues Shakespeare has left us 
with which to identify his rival, but the scholars appear to 
have assumed that the ghost, which appears in the sestet, 
is merely a continuation of the spirit imagery in the octave. 
Yet spirits are one thing, and a ghost is another, as Shake- 
speare, it safely may be assumed, knew. 

Sonnet 86: The Octave 
Was it the proud full sail of his great verse 
Bound for the prize of all too precious you, 
That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse, 
Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew? 
Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write 
Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead? 
No, neither he, nor his compeers by night 
Giving him aid, my verse astonished. 

Herein is depicted a poet who is also an invoker of 
spirits. Nebulous identifications of him have been at- 
tempted 5 indeed, a legion of Elizabethan poets, great and 
obscure, has been summoned up as Shakespeare's rivaL 
The most plausible hypothesis makes him George Chap- 
man. But while Sonnet 86, the sparkling gem of the rival- 
poet cluster, can be made to fit the famous translator of 
Homer, the scholars ingeniously involved their task by 
considering the fourteen lines as a unit, as has been in- 
dicated, when, as will be seen, an important change in 
diction and imagery takes place between the octave and 

Memories of Marlowe 239 

sestet indeed, it makes its appearance in the seventh and 
eighth lines of the octave 5 for none but scholars would 
ever believe that a 'compeer by night 5 is the same as a 
spirit rising out of the dark. 

Sonnet 86: The Sestet 
He, nor that affable familiar ghost 
Which nightly gulls him with intelligence, 
As victors of my silence cannot boast 3 
I was not sick from any fear of thence. ' 
But when your countenance fill'd up his line, 
Then lack'd I matter; that enfeebled mine. 

So specific is this new characterization, it seems only 
reasonable to assume that Shakespeare had someone in 
mind besides the invoker of spirits. The words 'affable' 
and 'familiar,' as well as 'ghost,' as distinct from the 
'spirits' of the octave, are too carefully chosen, too care- 
fully placed, to be only a continuation of the earlier 
images. They appear, rather, to be an additional stroke, 
as if by their means Shakespeare was making identification 
of his rival complete to his coterie, if not to all his con- 
temporaries. (Although not published until 1609, at least 
some of Shakespeare's verses were circulating as early as 
1598, when they were referred to as c sugred Sonnets 
among his priuate friends'.) Literary spirits are mere 
poetic formulae; but 'affable familiar ghost' is a human 
tribute, an echo of past friendship. The new words point 
to one recently deceased, who had stood in a definite rela- 
tionship to the author of the sonnet and the rival poet. 

240 The Muses' Darling 

These considerations lead back, inevitably, to Chap- 
man's apostrophe to Marlowe's spirit. If Chapman is in- 
deed the rival poet of the Sonnets, the role of 'affable 
familiar ghost' must be assigned to the dead author of 
Hero and Leander. 

The scholars have taken Chapman's apostrophe to mean 
that Marlowe asked him to finish his poem. This is a 
puerile notion. Why any poet in his prime should ask an- 
other to finish a work of his simply passes understanding. 
We know now that Marlowe, stabbed in the head, did not 
have time for literary bequests, or any bequests whatso- 
ever. 'His late desires' can only mean that, before the 
affair at Deptford, he had been at work on the Musaean 
theme of Hero and Leander; 'if yet it knows not' shows 
clearly that Marlowe did not know before his death that 
Chapman would continue where he left off. But what fol- 
lows 'And drunke to me half e this Musean storie' may 
mean that Marlowe had once told Chapman about the 
work under way, or had read the unfinished manuscript 
to him. Only this, and nothing more. 

Now this was Chapman's wayj in 1598, for his own 
purposes, Marlowe 

Vp to the chin in the Pyerean flood, 

and he communed with the dead poet's spirit j but in 
1616, he published his own version of The Divine Poem 

Memories of Marlowe 241 

of MusaeuSy -first of all bookes, translated according to the 
originall. There, in the epistle 'to the commune reader/ 
something crabbed that dwelt in his soul issued forth: 
'When you see Leander and Hero y the subjects of this 
Pamphlet, I persuade myself your prejudice will increase 
to the contempt of it 5 either headlong pre-supposing it all 
one, or at no part matchable with that partly excellent 
Poem of Maister Marloe's. For your all one, the Works 
are in nothing alike $ a different character being held 
through both the style, matter, and invention. For the 
match of it, let but your eyes be matches, and it will in 
many parts overmatch it.' 
He happened to be mistaken. 

The ghost of Sonnet 86 y the spirit of Chapman's apos- 
trophe, reappear in the dedication of Lucans FIRST 
BOOKE, translated by Marlowe at Cambridge, and pub- 
lished in London in 1600. Thomas Thorpe, who nine 
years later was to bring out Shakespeare's Sonnets, thus 
inscribed Lucan to Edward Blount, publisher of Hero and 
Leander: 'Blount: I purpose to be blunt with you, & out 
of my dulnesse to encounter you with a Dedication in the 
memory of that pure Elementall wit Chr. Mario w, whose 
ghoast or Genius is to be seene walke the Churchyard in 
(at the least) three or joure sheets. Me thinks you should 
presently looke wilde now y and growe humorously fran- 
tique vpon the tast of it. Well, least you should, let mee 

242 The Muses* Darling 

tell you. This spirit was sometime a familiar of your own> 
Lucans first booke translated 5 which (in regard of your 
old right in it) I haue raised in the circle of your Patron- 

Marlowe's line-for-line version of Lucan's Pharsalia 
belongs as we have seen to his earliest period of author- 
ship. Blount may have found the poem among the papers 
left by Marlowe at Scadbury, but appears to have trans- 
ferred his right in it to Thorpe. Thorpe's reference to St. 
Paul's churchyard, where the book went on sale at 'the 
Signe of the Flower de Luce/ is followed by a pun on the 
sheets of the quarto. 

These are the slim facts and slight conjectures to be ex- 
tracted from the prose of Thomas Thorpe. Nevertheless, 
we get from him, as earlier from Blount, an 'impression of 
the man y that hath beene deare vnto vs > liuing an after 
life in our memory* of c that pure Elementall wit Chr. 


The 'Army of the Lord 

THE Puritan tide of obloquy rose slowly, but it 
finally overwhelmed the memory of Marlowe. Their 
story of a divine visitation on the man and his works car- 
ried all before it. Within a century of his death even 
writers attempting a critical estimate of his achievements 
were under the spell of his calumniators. The wrath finally 
spent itself, but the righteousness stayed. Those who had 
known him and might have defended him were deadj his 
books had all but disappeared. 

The outburst o Puritan wrath against Marlowe is with- 
out parallel in literature. No vile epithet was too vile for 
his detractors to use, yet most of them wrote only from 
hearsay, or merely embroidered one another's accounts, 
hardly one able to contain his gloating religious caterpil- 
lars of the new style, who 

prove their doctrine orthodox 
By apostolic blows and knocks, 

as tiie first Samuel Butler wrote. 

In the tragic end of the poet who blazed the trail that 
Shakespeare followed they saw only the terrible justice of 


244 The Muses' Darling 

heaven appropriately meted out, and added fuel to the 
fiery legend which has persisted to this day of Marlowe 
as the very archetype of Elizabethan roaring boy hot- 
blooded, bellicose, wearing pride like a feather in his hat, 
and iniquitous before God and man. In truth, he sat for 
this portrait, distorted though it isj but there was some- 
thing else, as we have seen. 

Four years after Marlowe's death, Thomas Beard 
called the roll of the sinners, foreign and domestic, Mar- 
lowe among them, in his Theatre of Gods lodgements. 
He characterized the poet thus: 'Not inferiour to any of 
the former in Atheisme & impiety, and equall to all in 
manner of punishment was one of our own nation, of 
fresh and late memory, called Marlin, by profession a 
scholler, brought vp from his youth in the Vniuersitie of 
Cambridge, but by practise a playmaker, and a Poet of 
scurrilitie, who by gluing too large a swinge to his owne 
wit, and suffering his lust to haue the full raines, fell 
(not without iust desert) to that outrage and extremitie, 
that hee denied God and his sonne Christ, and not only 
in word blasphemed the trinitie, but also (as it is credibly 
reported) wrote bookes against it, affirming our Sauiour 
to be but a deceiuer, and Moses to be but a coniurer and 
seducer of the people, and the holy Bible to be but vaine 
and idle stories, and all religion but a deuice of pollicie. 
But see what a hooke the Lord put in the nosthrils of this 
barking dogge: It so fell out, that in London streets as he 
purposed to stab one whome hee ought a grudge vnto with 
his dagger, the other party perceiuing so auoided the 
stroke, that withall catching hold of his wrest, he stabbed 

The Army of the Lori 245 

his owne dagger into his owne head, in such sort, that not- 
withstanding all the meanes of surgerie that could be 
wrought, hee shortly after died thereof. The manner of 
his death being so terrible (for hee euen cursed and 
blasphemed to his last gaspe, and togither with his breath 
an oth flew out of his mouth) that it was not only a mani- 
fest signe of Gods iudgement, but also an horrible and 
fearefull terrour to all that beheld him. But herein did 
the Justice of God most notably appeare, in that hee com- 
pelled his owne hand which had written those blasphemies 
to be the instrument to punish him, and that in his braine, 
which had deuised the same.' 

A year later, Francis Meres, cataloguing the authors of 
his time in Palladia Tamia y wrote: 'As Io<Lelle y a French 
tragical poet beeing an Epicure, and an Atheist, made a 
pitifull end: so our tragicall poet Marlow for his Epicur- 
isme and Atheisme had a tragicall death} you may read 
of this Marlow more at large in the Theatre of Gods iudg- 
mentSy in the 25. chapter entreating of Epicures and 

But not content with referring his readers back to 
Beard, Meres gave his own version of the affair: c As the 
poet Lyco$hron was shot to death by a certain riual of his: 
so Christopher Marlow was stabd to death by a bawdy 
Seruing man, a riuall of his in his lewde loue.' 


In 1600, William Vaughan, thougH aping Beard's style, 
published an independent version of Marlowe's death in 

246 The Muses' Darling 

The Golden Grove and, as will be seen, he hits the mark 
several times: 'Not inferiour to these was one Christopher 
Marlow by profession a play-maker, who, as it is reported, 
about 7. yeeres a-goe wrote a booke against the Trinitie: 
but see the effects of Gods Justice} it so hapned, that at 
Detford, a litle village about three miles distant from 
London, as he meant to stab with his ponyard one named 
Ingram, that had inuited him thither to a feast, and was 
then playing at tables, he quickely perceyving it, auoyded 
the thrust, that withall drawing out his dagger for his 
defence, hee stabd this Marlow into the eye, in such sort, 
that his braines comming out at the daggers point, hee 
shortlie after dyed. Thus did God, the true executioner of 
diuine Justice, worke the ende of impious Atheists.* 

What Ingram's surname was, and what the quarrel, did 
not concern Vaughan, who seized on the moral and pointed 
it out. Nor, apparently, did he trouble himself with the 
fact that there had been two earthly witnesses, besides 
God's angels. 'Tables' is backgammon. 

Beard's version was again given, somewhat abridged, 
but still titillating to the pious, in 1618 by Edmund 
Rudierde in a work entitled The Thunderbolt of Gods 
Wrath against Hard-Hearted and stiffe-necked sinners: 
'We read of one Marlin, a Cambridge Scholler, who was 
a Poet, and a filthy Play-maker, this wretch accounted 
that meeke seruant of God Moses to be but a Coniurer, 
and our sweete Sauiour but a seducer and a deceiuer of the 
people. But harken yee braine-sicke and prophane Poets, 
and Players, that bewitch idle eares with foolish vanities: 
what fell vpon this prophane wretch, hauing a quarrell 

The Army of the 'Lord 247 

against one whom he met in a streete in London, and 
would haue stabd him: But the partie perceiuing his vil- 
lany preuented him with catching his hand, and turning 
his owne dagger into his braines, and so blaspheming and 
cursing, he yeelded vp his stinking breath: marke this yee 
Players, thajt Hue by making f ooles laugh at sinne and 

It is a good example of the style and sentiments of the 
soldiers in that army of the Lord that eventually con- 
quered England and shut the theaters. 

Ten years after Rudierde, John Earle, in his Micro- 
cosmogra^hie y concluded his portrait of a 'pot-poet' as 
follows: 'Sitting in a Baudy-house, hee writes Gods 
Judgements. Hee ends at last in some obscure painted 
Cloth, to which himselfe made the Verses, and his life 
like a Canne too full spils vpon the bench. He leaues 
twenty shillings on the score, which my Hostesse looses.' 

This also hits the mark. 'Painted Cloth' means wall 
hangings or tapestries. 

Some fifty years later, so vague had the legend of 
Marlowe's death become, that John Aubrey, of the delect- 
able Brief Lives, makes Ben Jonson the slayer: 'He killed 
Mr. Marlow, the poet, on Bunhill, comeing from the 
Green Curtain play-house.' Aubrey's double-dealing 
friend, Anthony a Wood, drew on both Beard and Meres, 
especially the latter, recognizing that the love interest 
heightens the drama and that the triangle is deadly. Thus 
Wood on Marlowe in Athenae Oxonienses, 1691: 'But 
see the end of this person, which was noted by all, espe- 
cially by the Precisians. For it so fell out, that he being 

248 The Muses' Darling 

deeply in love with a certain Woman, had for his rival a 
bawdy serving man, one rather fit to be a Pimp, than an 
ingenious Amoretto as Mario conceived himself to be. 
Whereupon Mario taking it to be a high affront, rush'd 
in upon, to stab, him, with his dagger. But the serving 
man being very quick, so avoided the stroke, that with 
all catching hold of Mario's wrist, he stab'd his own dag- 
ger into his own head, in such sort, that notwithstanding 
all the means of surgery that could be wrought, he shortly 
after died of his wound.' 

The reader is also in great danger of a stroke, with 
c rush'd in upon, to stab, him, 5 etc. 'Precisians* are our 
friends the Puritans. 1 

Such, then, are their accounts of the man who, in his 
life and work, adventured in new realms of the spirit, and 
who wrote for all to mark: 

I count Religion but a childish Toy, 
And hold there is no sinne but Ignorance* 


r A Backward Glance 

Queen who had honored the Walsinghams was 
JL dead 5 a new monarch reigned 5 but the light of the 
Elizabethan age continued to glow. 

Forty-two years after Kyd and Marlowe sojourned to- 
gether, to part enemies, Thomas Heywood, who had 
known both in his youth, brought The Jew of Malta back 
to the stage, and then saw it through the press. His edi- 
tion, dated 1633, is not the authoritative text a first edition 
would be, but it possesses at least one distinctive attribute: 
a Prologue praising Marlowe and Edward Alleyn, creator 
of the title roles in Marlowe's dramas. 

Heywood wrote the Prologue to usher in the old play 
on the stage of the Cockpit Theatre 5 and considering that 
he himself has confessed to having had a hand or c at least 
a main finger' in 220 plays, which means that he knew 
and collaborated with most of the dramatists of his time, 
beginning in the reign of Elizabeth, his praise of Marlowe 
is all that it should be: 

We know not how our Play may passe this Stage, 
But by the best of* Poets in that age *Marlo. 

The Malta Jew had being y and was made; 
And He, then by the best of* Actors $lay y d. *Allin 


The Famous 



Theatre at Wkite-tltlljyy her Majeftics 
Servants at the Ctek-f# 

Written ly C H R I ST O JHE ft M A * j, O .V 

s Shppin theln 

es 6 3 3* 

'A Backward Glance 


It may be that the hew production of Marlowe's old 
play quickened the aging writer's nostalgia into sharp 
recollection, for in his Hierarchie of the blessed Angells, 
which appeared two years later, Heywood takes a fond 
backward glance at the bright era of his youth, invoking 
its great figures by name. The passage is a dramatis -per- 
sonae for this book: 

Greene, who had in both Academies ta'ne 

Degree of Master, yet could neuer gaine 

To be calPd more than Robin: who had he 

Profest ought saue the Muse, Serv'd, and been Free 

After a seuen yeares Prenticeshipj might haue 

(With credit too) gone Robert to his graue. 

Mario, renown'd for his rare art and wit, 

Could ne're attaine beyond the name of K it; 

Although his Hero and Leander did 

Merit addition rather. Famous Kid 

Was calPd but Tom. Tom. Watson, though he wrote 

Able to make Apollo's selfe to dote 

Vpon his Muse; for all that he could striue, 

Yet neuer could to his full name arriue. 

Tom. Nash (in his time of no small esteeme) 

Could not a second syllable redeeme. 

Chapman is there by implication, via the addition to 
Hero and Leander ; of Shakespeare he wrote: 

252 The Muses' Darling 

Mellifluous Shafce-speare, whose inchanting Quill 
Commanded Mirth or Passions, was but Will. 

And, finally, of himself: 

I hold he loues me best that calls me Tom. 

And so we leave them, Robin and Kit, four Toms and 
one Will, all passion spent, all quarrels past. 



CH. I. I. Fragmenta Regalia, 1641; reprinted by Arbor, 1870. 
2. Conyers Read, Mr. Secretary Walsingham, 1925. 3. Dasent, 
Acts of the Privy Council, XV, p. 141. Mr. Leslie Hotson was 
the first to call attention to it in his now famous book. The Death 
of Christopher Marlowe, 1925. Newly transcribed by Bakeless, 
The Tragicall History of Christopher Marlowe, 1942, p. 77. 
I have portrayed Walsingham going over the minutes, as it is 
extremely unlikely that any business of the Council would have 
escaped him. 

CH. n. I. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage describes 
King's School in modern times; his hero also found it irksome. 
Maugham returns to the theme in The Summing Uf: 'I grew 
older. I went to the King's School* The masters were clergymen; 
they were stupid and irascible.* 

CH. m. i. Strype, Life of Parker, 1831, III, p. 386 f. 2. Thfe 
most agreeable discovery, together with Mistress Benchkin's will, 
was made by Mr. Frank W. Tyler of Canterbury, who placed 
the documents at the disposal of Mr. Bakeless, who used them, 
of. cit., I, viii and 74 et seq. John Marlowe's deposition is in the 
Public Record Office, Canterbury, 39/11. 3. Perhaps Marlowe 
showed Thomas Nashe his Dido; it is at least possible that only 
someone who knew of the play as a Cambridge composition 
could have called attention to it after Marlowe's death, when it 
was first published. Nashe's name actually got on the tide-page 
of the 1594 edition; but the only thing to connect Nashe with 
this play, the evidence of versification and imagery being all in 
favor of Marlowe, is a supposed elegy on Marlowe's death, 
written by Nashe, which was inserted in some copies of the book, 
apparently after the book was oF the press. Two eighteenth 
century scholars, Tanner and Warton, writing independently of 


256 The Mutes' Darting 

each other, say they saw a copy of Dido with Nashe's elegy, but 
neither one had the wit to copy the poem. It is now one with 
'what song the Sirens sang.' 4. Homer appears to have prefigured 
both Virgil and Marlowe: 'Pitiless that thou art, the knight 
Peleus was not then thy father, nor Thetis thy mother, but the 
grey sea bare thee, and the sheer cliffs, so untoward is thy spirit' 
(Hiad, Book XV). 5. Greg, Henslowe y s Diary, II, p. 12. 

CH. iv. I. Milton has two poems about Hobson, 'On the Univer- 
sity Carrier/ and 'Another of the Same.' No. 509 of The S$ecta- 
tor gives an account of the man and his trade. 2. Dekker, The 
Seuen deadlie Sinns of London, 1606 (Oxford, 1922). Stow, 
Suruey of London, passim. 3. Elizabethan slang: doxies, mis- 
tresses to rogues; friggers of francers, horse-stealers; kinching 
Goes, young male rogues; dummerers, beggars pretending dumb- 
ness; jarkmen, clerkly rogues; dells, female beggars, still maidens; 
bawdy baskets, female pedlars; queans, harlots. 4. Greg, o$ at. 

CH. v. I. Wood, Athenae Oxomenses. 

CH. vi. I. Plutarch's Antony hails his sons by Cleopatra as rulers 
over Armenia, Media, Parthia; Phoenicia, Syria and Cilicia. 2. 
The problem of Marlowe's apocryphal plays which bear a rela- 
tion to Shakespeare such as the source-plays of Henry VI 
will be taken up in a subsequent work. 3. It is to a famous scene 
in the Second Part that the most famous allusion of all was 
made, by Shakespeare good-naturedly, I believe. The idea for 
Marlowe's hero drawn by captive kings came from Jocasta, to 
which reference has been made. Marlowe's scene was easy to 
burlesque; and when Pistol (in Henry IV) does so it probably 
was good for a laugh with the spectators. The humor appears to 
have gone out of it. 4. Malory has a forecast of Drake's fireships: 
*So it befell on a time that the miscreant Saracens landed in the 

Notes 257 

country of Cornwall soon after these Sessoins were gone. And 
then the good Prince Boudwin, at the landing, he raised the 
country privily and hastily. And or it were day he let put wild- 
fire in three of his own ships, and suddenly he pulled up the 
sail, and with the wind he made those ships to be driven among 
the navy of the Saracens. And to make short tale, those three 
ships set on fire all the ships, that none were saved* (Morte 
D> Arthur, Book X, Ch. XXXII). 5. The Prayer-Book of 
Queen Elizabeth, in the Ancient and Modern Library of Theo- 
logical Literature, 1890, Appendix XII, p. 225. 6. Homer again: 
'But if I might somewhere find Aias of the loud war-cry, then 
both together would we go and be mindful of battle even were 
it against the power of heaven' (Iliad, Book XVTI). 

CH. vn. I. A chapter heading in Rabelais reads: 'A prophetical! 
riddle in the style of Merlin/ The fool in King Lear remarks: 
'This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time/ 
Greene's pun is clearer when it is remembered that 'Merlin' was 
pronounced 'Marlin/ 2. McKerrow's Nashe, III, p. 85. 

CH. vm I. The earliest English version of the German Historic 
von Z). Johann Fausten, 1587, that has come down is dated 
15925 but the tide-page shows there was an edition before it 
by the phrase *Newly imprinted/ For a discussion of dates and 
a transcription of 'source passages/ see Boas, The Tragical His- 
tory of Doctor Faustus, 1932. 

CH. IX. I. For the information contained in this chapter and 
Ch. X, I am indebted to Mark Eccles* brilliant book, 
Christopher Marlowe in London y 1934. I have done little more 
than arrange the documents in sequence. Bradley's petition 
against Swift, Alleyn and Watson is in the Public Record Office, 

258 The Muses' Darling 

London, K.B. 29/226, membrane 119, and was originally dis- 
covered by Mr. Hotson, who turned his find over to Mr. Eccles. 

CH. x. I. Middlesex Sessions Roll 284, no. 12. 2. Chancery 
Miscellanea, bundle 68, file 12, no. 362. 3. Middlesex Sessions 
Roll 284, no. i. 4. Patent Rolls 32 Eliz., part 4. All four 
documents are in Eccles, of. cit. The coroner's inquest and 
Queen's grace documents were translated from the Latin for 
the present work. 

CH. xi. I. John Aubrey tells it thus: *He loved a wench well; 
and one time getting up one of the Mayds of Honour against 
a tree in a Wood ('twas his first lady), who seemed at first 
boarding to be something fearfull of her Honour, and modest, 
she cryed, Sweet Sir Walter, what doe you me ask? Will you 
undoe me? Nay, sweet Sir Walter! Sweet Sir Walter! Sir 
Walter! At last, as the danger and the pleasure at the same 
time grew higher, she cryed in the extacey, Swisser Swatter! 
Swisser Swatter! She proved with child.' (Brief Lives y Oxford, 
1898). 2. The surrender of Smerwick, in Ireland, was followed 
by the slaughter of the entire garrison of 600 ; Raleigh was one 
of the officers in charge of the wholesale executions. 3. Naunton, 
of. cit. 4. I am indebted to my friend, Mr. Willard R. Trask, 
for calling Reinoso's poem to my attention, and it is his English 
rendering which I have used. 5. The Comfleat Angler. 6. Stevens, 
Thomas Hanoi and his Associates, 1900. 7. See Ch. XXII. 
8. Excerpted from an English summary of Parsons' Resfonsio ad 
Elizabethae E dictum, concerning the edict of 1591 against the 
Catholics. 9. Pierce Penilesse. 

CH. xn. I. The tide of this chapter is, of course, Ben Jonson's 
phrase in his poem to Shakespeare, but towards the end of his 
life his judgment took another turn: c The true Artificer will 

Notes 259 

not run away from nature, as hee were afraid of her; or depart 
from life, and the likenesse of Truth; but speake to the capacity 
of his hearers. And though his language differ from the vulgar 
somewhat; it shall not fly from all humanity with the Tamer- 
lanes, and Tamer-Chams, of the late Age, which had nothing 
in them but the scenicall strutting, and furious vociferation, to 
warrant them then to the ignorant gapers.* (Timber: or y Dis- 
coveries, 1641). 2. Dekker, of. cit. 3. Englished by Ezra Pound. 
Cf., "Lydia, bella puella Candida," An Anthology of Medieval 
Latin, ed. by Stephen Gaselee (London, 1925), p. 69. Line 15, 
"Sugis amantis pattern animi," is rendered by Jack Lindsay as 
c< You suck out half my soul" (Medieval Latin Poets, Edinburgh, 
I 934)> P J 8i. The poem is pre-Renaissance and anonymous. 
(From an unpublished paper by Nancy Norman Cornelius, Uni- 
versity of North Carolina, 1960.) 4. With this, Marlowe's play 
ends. He was not one to moralize, and the moralizing chorus which 
enters at this point was probably the product of other hands, paid 
four pounds by Henslowe for 'their adicyones in doctor fostes* 
(Greg. op. cit., I, p. 172). 

CH. xm. i. The evidence for such an assumption is skilfully set 
forth by Dr. S. A. Tannenbaum, The Booke of Sir Thomas 
More, 1927. 2. See Ch. XXV and Notes. 3. See Brooke, Works, 
1910; Bennett, The Jew of Malta, 1931, and Bakeless, of. cit., 
for discussion of sources. 

CH. xiv. I. Middlesex Sessions Roll 309, no. 13. Discovered by 
Eccles; of. cit., p. 105. 

CH. xv. I. Englished by Eccles, of. cit., p. 166. 

CH. xvi. I. D. B. Wyndham Lewis, Francois Villon, 1928. 
2. The passage is strikingly reminiscent of Socrates' utterance in 

260 The Muses* Darling 

the Phaedo: Will you not allow that I have as much of the 
spirit of prophecy in me as the swans? For they, when they per- 
ceive that they must die, having sung all their life long, then 
sing more beautifully than even . . .* 

CH. xvm. i. Although Edward II has come down to us> in tSe 
Quarto of 1594, with few textual flaws, there is at least one scene 
wherein lines are obviously missing and must be conjectured to 
arrive at Marlowe's meaning. An attempt is made here (con- 
jectured lines in italics) : 

Lan. Monster of men, 

That like the Greekish strumpet traind to armes 
And bloudie warres, so many valiant knights 
Leadest to doom y 

Looke for no other fortune wretch then death, 
Kind Edward is not heere to buckler thee. 

War. Lancaster, why talkst thou to the slaue? 
Go souldiers take him hence, for by my sword, . 
His head shall off: Gaueston y short warning 
Shall serue thy turne: it is our countries cause, 
That here seuerelie we will execute 
The look?d-for penalty of ciuiH broiles 
.Vpon thy person: hang him at a bough. 

Gau. My Lord. 

War. Souldiers, haue him away: 
But for thou wert the fauorit of a King, 
Thou shalt haue so much honor at our hands 
As to le *headed. 

Gau. I thanke you all my lords, then I perceiue, 
.That heading is one, and hanging is the other, 
And death is all. 

(11. 1182-1199, Brooke's ed.) 

Notes 261 

CH. xrx. I. Sir Simonds D'Ewes, A Complete Journal of the 
Vote$ > Speeches and Debates both of the House of Lords and 
House of Commons throughout the whole Reign of Queen Eliza- 
beth of Glorious Memory, 1693, p. 505 et seq. For an account 
of the cloth trade fostered by the aliens, and its importance in 
the nation's history, see Trevelyan, A Shortened History of 
England^ 194.2, pp. 190-193. 2. See Tannenbaum's account, 
of. cit.y regarding the conjectured authorship of this work. 3. The 
Book of Sir Thomas More, Malone Society Reprint, 1911, sig. A. 
See also Brooke, The Shakespeare Afocryfha, 1918, pp. xlvii-liv* 
4. Dasent, of. cit. y Vol. XXIV, p. 222. 

CH. xx. I. Harleian MS, 6848, fol. 187-189. 2. Dasent, of. cit., 
Vol. XXIV, p. 244. 

CH. xxi. I. Dryden, in Religio Laid: 

Are there not many points, some needfull sure 
To saving Faith, that Scripture leaves obscure?. 
Which every Sect will wrest a several way 
(For what one Sect interprets, all Sects may:) 
We hold, and say we prove from Scripture plain, 
That Christ is God; the bold Socinian 
From the same Scripture urges he's but MAN. 
Now what Appeal can end th* important suit; 
Both parts talk loudly, but the Rule is mute. 

2. Dasent, of. at. y Vol. XXIV, p. 244. 

CH. xxn. I. The *Note, J calculated to make Marlowe smart, has 
managed, ktterly, to startle and abash finicky scholars who have 
come upon it not without a secret blush or two; for they have 
either suppressed it or strewn it with asterisks after tasting its 

262 The Muses' Darling 

heady comminations. 2. Harleian MS. 6848, fol. 185-86. 
3. Harleian MS. 6853, fol. 307-308. 4. Harleian MS. 6848, 
fol. 190-191. 5. Tannenbaum, The Assassination of Christopher 
Marlowe, 1928, implicates Raleigh. 6. Naunton, of. cit. 7. Whit- 
sun Eve, 1593, fell on June 2, whereas Marlowe was killed 
May 30. Within iii dayes' gets the date right, and I can only 
assume, with others, that the word 'after* is a subconscious blun- 
der of the scribe. 

CH. xxm. I. Chancery Misc., bundle 64, file 8, no. 241; original 
in Latin. 2. Ibid. 3. Patent Rolls, 14015 original in Latin. The 
documents concerning Marlowe's death and his slayer's pardon 
were discovered and transcribed by Mr. Hotson, of. cit. 4. Har- 
leian MS. 7002, fol. 10. 

CH, xxiv. I, The disputation, and the questions and depositions 
of witnesses are from Harleian MS. 6849, fol. 183-190. A com- 
plete transcription is given in G. B. Harrison's WiUobie his Avisa, 
Bodley Head Quartos, 1926, Appendix III, pp. 255-271. 

CH. xxv. I. Harleian MS. 6849, fol. 218. The handwriting o? 
this letter is the ordinary secretary script for the English portions 
and Roman scrivener's for the Latin. The latter resembles the 
handwriting of the *vile hereticall Conceiptes' found in Kyd's 
chamber; but this is not necessarily significant the style is a 
formalized one, and other hands of the period resemble it. 
2. Harleian MS. 6848, fol. 154. 3. The Archdeaconry of Lon- 
don Probate and Administration Act Book (Boas, The Works 
of Thomas Kyd > 1901). 

CH. xxvi. I. Jonson, Every Man Out of His Humor. 2. Timber: 
or, Discoveries. 3. See Ch. XXVII, Section III. 4. The quotation 
from Hero and Leander would indicate that the edition of this 

Notes 263 

poem licenced in September, 1593, actually appeared, although 
no copy has come down to us (see Brooke, Works y p. 485). 
Shakespeare, however, may have seen the poem in manuscript. 

CH. xxvn. I. Brooke, of. dt. 9 p. 491. 2. Ibid., pp. 513-514* 
3. md. y p. 647. 

CH. xxvm. I. By the eighteenth century the wrath had been 
squeezed dry, and the accent was on lewdness: c This Author was 
both a Poet and a Player; but in the Opinion of some Contem- 
porary Writers, a Man o bad Morals. Having an intrigue with 
a loose woman he came unexpectedly into her Chamber, and 
caught her in the Embraces of another Gallant, This so much 
enraged him that he drew his Dagger, and attempted to Stab 
him; but, in the Struggle, the Paramour seized Marlow, turned 
the Point into his Head, and killed him on the spot' (Theatrical 
Records). In the nineteenth, the story became: c !n.May (1593) 
we know that Marlowe was at the little village of Deptford, not 
many miles from London. There was turbulent blood there, and 
wine; there were courtesans and daggers. Here Marlowe was 
slain, killed by a serving-man, a rival in a quarrel over bought 
kisses* (Havelock Ellis in the Mermaid Marlowe). A Victorian 
circumlocution. In the twentieth century, there appeared the 
following stricture, in an article entitled Marlowe and the Heavy 
Wrath of God: 'The evils of Marlowe's chief characters were 
also Marlowe's own, and he, like these characters, fell to be 
plagued in hell' (F. Paul in American Catholic Quarterly 
Review) . 

Selected Bibliography 

The Works of Christopher Marlowe, edited by C. F. Tucker 
Brooke, Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1910. 

The Works and- Life of Christopher Marlowe, general editor, 
R. H. Case, London, Methuen, New York, Lincoln MacVeigh, 
The Dial Press: The Ltfe of Marlowe and Dido, Queen of 
Carthage, C. F. Tucker Brooke, 19305 Tamburlaine, U. M. 
Ellis-Fermor, 1930; The Jew of Malta and The Massacre at 
Paris, H, S. Bennett, 1931; Poems, L. C. Martin, 1931; Doctor 
Faustus, F. S- Boas, 1932; Edward II, H. B. Charlton and 
R. D. Waller, 1933. 

The Death of Christopher Marlowe, by Leslie Hotson, London, 
Nonesuch Press, 1925. 

Christopher 'Marlowe in London, by Mark Eccles, Cambridge, 
Mass., Harvard University Press, 1934. 

Christopher Marlowe, A Biographical and Critical Study, by 
F. S. Boas, Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1940. 

The Tragicatt History of Christopher Marlowe, by John Bake- 
less, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1942. 



Admiral's Men, 62, 64, 126 

Aeneid, Virgil, (Marlowe's translation) 

36. 38 
Allen, Thomas, Lieutenant of Portland 

Castle, 215, 2x6 

Alleyn, Edward, 53, 113, 123, 129, 249 
Alleyn, John, 87, 88, 89, 257 
Alphonsus, King of Aragon, Robert 

Greene, 63 
Amintae Gaudia, Thomas Watson, 146- 


Armada, the Spanish, 4, 64, 65 
Arraignment of Paris, George Peele, 37 
Arthur, Christopher, 9 
Arthur, Thomas, 28, 29 
As You Like It, William Shakespeare, 


Athenae Oxonienses, Wood, 247, 256 
Aubrey, John, Brief Lives, 148, 247, 258 

Baines, Richard, 194-201, 2x8 
Bakeless, John, xvi 

The Tragicall History of Christopher 

Marlowe, 255 
Battle of Alcazar, The, George Peele, 

Beard, Thomas, Theatre of Cods Judge- 

ments. 244-245 

Benchkin, Catherine, 28, 29, 255 
Bianco, Francesco, xvi 
Blount, Edward, 233, 234, 241-242 
Boas, F. S.. The Tragicall History of 

Dr. Faustus, 257; The Works of 

Thomas Kyd, 263 
Bonfinius, Antonius, Rervm Vngari* 

carom Decades Qvattvor, 65-66 
Booke of Sir Thomas More, Dr. S. A. 

Tannenbaum, 259, 261 
Bradley, Richard, 86-87 
Bradley, William, 86-98, 99-100, 257 

jurors, list of, at his inquest, 93 
Brief Lives.Jdhn Aubrey, 148, 247, 358 
Bridewell (Kyd in), 186, 193 
Brooke, C. F. Tucker, rvi, 263 
Works, 259 
Edward II, 260 

The Shakespeare Apocrypha, 261 
Browne, William of Tavistock, 148 
Buckhurst, Lord, see Sackville, Thomas 
Bull, Eleanor, 202, 207 
Burbage, James, 50-51, 62 
Burbage, Richard, 51 

, , 

Burghley, Lord, 16-17 
Butler, Samuel, 243 

Cambridge University, see also Corpus 

attendance record of Marlowe, 6-7, 

27-28, 142 
Robert Cecil, 16-17 
classical plays given, 32 
Gabriel Harvey, 19 
life at, 15-16, 22, 38-41 
Marlowe's scholarship, 14 
Tamburlaine begun, 22 
Campion, 121-122 
Canterbury, 9-14, 28, 29, 2-55 
Cecil, Robert, 16-17 
Cecil, William, Lord Burghley, see 

Burghley, Lord 
Cerclamon, 121 
Chalkhill, Ion, 92, 93, 95 
Chapman, George, xiii 

The Divine poem of Musaeus, etc., 

(continuation of Hero and Le~ 

ander), 25, 234-237, 240-241* 251 

and Raleigh, xop 

and Shakespeare's Sonnet 86, 237-238, 

Chettle, Henry, 167-168 

Kind-Harts Dreame, 168-170, 171 
Chislehurst, 19, 54 
Cholmley, John, 52- 
Chohnley, Richard, 199-^00, aoi, 210, 

2X1, 217 

Christopher Marlowe in London, Mark 
Eccles, 257, 259 

"Come Live With Me," see Passionate 
Sheepheard to Ms love, The 

Commission for Causes Ecclesiastical, 
Her Highness's, 215 

Corpus Christi, see also Cambridge Uni- 

attendance of Marlowe, see Cam- 

influence on Marlowe's beliefs and 
writings, 22-27, 58, 67, 113 

Kett. Francis, 192 

Marlowe's departure, 39-40, 42 

Marlowe's life there, see Cambridge 

Cotton, Charles, 108 

Danby, William, 204-209 

Daniel, Samuel, 148 

David and Bethsabe, George Peele, 03 

Davis, John, Curate of Motcombe, 216 

Death of Christopher Maarlowe, The, 

Leslie Hotson, 255 
Dekker, Thomas, 256, 259 




Deptford, 53, & 202, 203, 204, 208, 

225, 220 

Devereux, Robert, Earl of Esses, 4, 


D'Ewes, Sir Simonds, A Complete 
Journal of the Votes, Speeches 
and Debates both of the House 
of Lords and House of Commons 
throughout the whole Reign of 
Queen Elisabeth of Glorious 
Memory, 261 

Dido, see Tragedie of Dido Queene of 

Divine Poem of Musaeus, see Chapman, 

Donne, John, 108, 122 

Drake, Sir Francis, 53, 64, 256, 257 

Drummond of Hawthornden, 4, 129 

Dryden, John, Religio Laid, 261 

Dudley, Robert, Earl of Leicester, 4, 
i?> so 

Dulwich College, 53 

Durham House, 108 

Earle, John, Micro cosmographie, 247 
Eccles, Mark, 258, 259 

Christopher Marlowe in London, 257 
Edward I, George Peele, 63 
Edward II, Marlowe 

analysis of, 173-177, 260 

and Countess of Pembroke, 148 

source for, 16, 173 
Elizabeth, Queen 

and Marlowe's journey to Rheims, 7 

and Essex, 4, 101 

knights Francis Drake, 53 

and Faerie Queene, 103 

pardon of Frizer, 209-210 

pardon of Watson, 98 

and Philip of Spain, 64; see also 
Armada, the Spanish 

portrait of, 3-5 

and Raleigh, 101, 102, 108, 211 

and St. Bartholomew's Eve, 139 

speeches in Lords and Commons, see 
D'Ewes, Sir Simonds 

at Thomas Walsingham's, 233 

views plays, 36, 37 
Elisabeth, The Prayer-Book of Queen, 

Elizabethan slang, 256 

Ellis, Havelock, Mermaid Marlowe, 263 

Essex, Earl of, see Devereux, Robert, 

and Elizabeth, Queen 
Euripides, Jocasta, 36 

Faerie, Queene the, Edmund Spenser, 
*7, 103; see also, Spenser, Ed- 

Pal of the late Arrian, The, 192 

Faust, Goethe, 259 

Fausten, Historia von D. Johann, 257 

Faustus, The Tragicall History of Doc- 
tor, F. S. Boas, 257 

Favstus, The Historie of the damnable 
life, and deserved death of Doc- 
tot lohn, 83-85 

Faustus, Doctof, Marlowe 
Edward Alleyn as Faustus, 53 
analysis of, 111-124, 125 
and Dido, 33 
and German version, 259 
and Goethe's Faust, 259 
imitation of, 63 
and The Jew of Malta, 136 
love poetry compared with that of 

other poets, 121-122 
and Marlowe's religious ideas, 21-22, 


and Ovid, 123 
source, 83-85 
and Tamburlaine I, 116 
and Tamburlaine 11, 68-69 
Ferrex and Porrex, Tragedie of, Thomas 

Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, 36 
Fleetwood, William, 96, 98 
Foure Letters and certaine sonnets: 
especially touching Robert Greene, 
Gabriel Harvey, 161-163 
Fovre Letters Confvted, Thomas Nashe, 

Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Robert 

Greene, 63, 129 

Frizer, Ingram, 56, 202-210, 246 
Fuller, 129 

Gaol Delivery Rolls, 96 
Galileo, 109 

Gascoigne, George, 36-37, 63 
The Pleasauntest Workes of George 

Gascoigne, 36 

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, Faust, 259 
Golden Grove, The, William Vaughan, 

Golden Hind, 53 

Gray's Inn Lane, 86-89 

Greene, Robert, xiv 
burial, 1 60 
at Cambridge, 16, 19 
Chettle's Kind-Harts Dreame, 168-170 
death, 146, 148, 152-159, 217 
and Gabriel Harvey, 19, 160-163 
Hey wood's lines. 251 
and Marlowe, 63. 74-77, 78, 154-156 
and Thomas Nashe, 77-78, 163-166 
Alphonsus, King of Aragon, 63 
Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, 63, 

Groates-Worth of Witte, 154-159, 168- 


Menaphon, 77, 78 
Perimedes the Blacke-smith, 75 

Grey, Arthur, Lord of Wilton, 17, 37, 

101, IO2 

Groates-Worth of Witte, Robert Greene, 
*54- x 59t 167-170 

Guise, The Massacre at Paris: With 
the Death of the Duke of, Mar- 
lowe, 139-145 

Hamlet, Shakespeare, 177 

Hariot, Thomas, and his Associates, 
Stevens, 258 

Harriot, Thomas, 108, 200, 216, 217, 


A brief e and true report of the new 
found land of Virginia, 108 



Harrison, G. B., Willabie Ms Avisa, 


Harrys, Justice Robert, 86 
Harvey, Gabriel, 17-19, 33-34, 78, i49 

150-151, 160-166, 228-230 
Three Proper, and wittie, familiar Let- 

ters, 1 8 
Fours Letters and certaine sonnets: 

Especially, etc., 161-163 
A New Letter of Notable Contents, 

etc., 228-229 
Harvey, John, 19 
Harvey, Rev. Richard, 19, 54, 80-81, 

Have With You to Saffron-W olden, 

Thomas Nashe, 149*150; see also 

Harvey, Gabriel 
Helliot, Nicholas, 137 
Henry IV. Shakespeare, 256 
Henry VI, Shakespeare, 5*, "9i 156, 

Henry* fall, 64, 180, 193 
Henslowe, Philip, 51-53, 6z > I2 4, *39 

Henslowe's Diary, 256* 
Hero and Leander, Marlowe, 31, 54, 
148, 262-263 

appearance of, 233 

continuation by Chapman, 234-237, 

discussion of, 189-190 

and Merchant of Venice t 135 

Shakespeare's borrowed line, 233 

and Ovid's Amores, 2$ 
Herrick, Robert, 108 
Heywood, Thomas, 48, 249 
Hier archie of the blessed Angells, 251, 


Hobson, Thomas, 42* 256 
Hog Lane, 82 

duel in. 90-100 

Holinshed's Chronicle, 16, 173 
Homei, 256, 257 _ _ t 

Honour of the Garter, The, George Peele, 


Hopton, Sir Owen, 92, 137-1 39 
Horsey, Sir Ralph, 211-213, 213 
Hotson, Leslie, 255, 258, 262 
Howard, Henry, Earl of Surrey, 34* 

Howard, Viscount Thomas of Bindon, 

Hussey, William, 216 

Ironside, Rev. Ralph, 211-215 

Jefferys, Nicholas, 216, 217 
Jesopp John, 216 
Jew of Malta, The, Marlowe, 259 
analysis of, 129-136 
and Kyd, 126, 129, 134 
and Merchant of Venice, 135, *3* 
source, 130-131, 132-133 , , . 
Job, Book of, 132-133; see also Jew of 

Malta, The, source. 
Jocasta, Euripides, trans, by George 
Gascoigne and Francis Kinwel- 
mershe, 36, 256 

Jonson, Ben, xiii, 4, 121-122, 129, 247, 


Every Man Out of His Humor, 262 
Julius Caesar, Shakespeare, 177 

Kett, Francis, 192 

Kilcolman, 102, 103 

Kind-Harts Dreame, Henry Chettle, 168- 

170, 171 

King Leaf, Shakespeare, 257 
King's School, Canterbury, 13, 14, 67 

is modern times, 255 
Kinwelmershe, Francis, 36 
Kitchen, Richard, 96-98 
Kyd, Anna, 227 
Kyd, Francis, 227 
Kyd, Thomas 7?, a$i, 262 

arrest and imprisonment, 185-188, 
191, 193 

end of, 218-227 

and Jew of Malta, see Marlowe, works 

letter to Sir John Puckering, 220-222 

life with Marlowe, 125-129 

and Marlowe's 'monstruous opinions,' 
127, 188, 191, 193, 199-201, 220- 

222, 224-22< 

The Spanish Tragedie, 37, 79, So, 

126, 129, 134* 227 
The Works of Thomas Kyd, edited 

by F. S. Boas, 262 

Lamb, Charles, xiii 

Leicester, Earl of (Robert Dudley), 4, 

Lewis, 1 B. S B. Wyndham, Francois Vil- 
lon, 259 
"Liberties" of London 

Liberty of the Clink, 32 

Liberty of Norton Folgate, 58, 8* 

Liberty of Shoredith, see Shoreditch 
Life of Matthew Parker, Strype, 255 
Lodge, Thomas, 40, 63 
London and environs, 42-53 

government, 46 

inns and taverns, 47, 4& 49* SO, 86, 

plays, description of, nx 

prisons, 46, 95, 9$, 97, 98, 99 186, 

St. Paul's, 49, 7S 82, 168 
Stow, Survey of London, 256 
Looking Glasse for London and Eng- 
land, A, Thomas Lodge and Rob- 
ert Greene, 63 

Lucan^s Pharsalia, trans, by Marlowe, 

see Marlowe, works. 
Lydgate, John, 121 

Machiavelli, Nicolai, II Principe, 129, 

Malory, Sir Thomas, Morte D f Arthur, 


Marley, Catherine, 9 
Marley, Christopher, 9 
Marley, Joan, 9 



Marley, John, 9, n, 12, 28-29 
Marlowe, Christopher: 
variations in spelling of his name, 

9* I0 

birth and family background. 9-11 
scholar at the King's School, see 

King's School 
at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, 6-7, 14, 

15-24, 24-27, 27-28, 30-34, 35, 

38-39, 41, . 42, 3J J* . i. 

Corpus Christi and Cambridge 
Beliefs: 22-24 
witnesses a will, 28-29 
Privy Council's certificate of good 

service, 5, 6, 40; see also, Rheims 
departure for London, 36, 42-46 
duel in Hog Lane, 00-100 
boast about counterfeiting, 99 
friction with constables of Holywell 

St., 137-139 
table talk, 196-201 
killed at Deptford by Ingram Frizer, 


jury's verdict at inquest, 205 
burial, 234, 241-242 
conflicting versions of story of his 

death, 228-229, 244-247, 263 
contemporary tributes: 
George Peele's, 230 
William Shakespeare's, 230-232 
and Robert Greene, 63, 75-76, 154- 


156, 167-168. 168-170 
Thomas Kyd. 125-129, 188, 


193, 220-222, 224-225 

and Thomas Nashe, 77, 78, 81, 128, 


and Robert Poley, 55-56, 202-200 
and Raleigh, 104-110, 199-201 
and Shakespeare, xiii, 37-38, 62, 63, 

132, 135, 175, 177, 230-232, 237- 


and Spenser, 104 
and Thomas ^walsingham, 54-56", 

and Thomas Watson, 54-55 
influences on his writing, 35-39; see 

also, Beliefs, Sources, 
sources of plays, 16, 23, 24-27, 58, 
68, 69, 105. 123, 190; see also, 
names of plays 
tig place in English dramatic his" 

tory, ix, 31, 35-36, 70-73 
Marlowe s imitators, 63, 108 
Author of dedication for Amintae 

Gaudiaf, 146-148 
Author of insurrection scene? 180- 

Dido, queens of Carthage, 32-33, 

255* 256 
Doctor Faustus, 33, 53, 63, 68-69, 

82-85, 111-124, 125 
Edward the Second, King of Eng- 
land, 16, 148, 173-177, 260 
Hero and Leander, 25, 31, 54, 135, 
148, 189-193, 232, 233, *34-*37, 
240-241, 262-263 

The Jem of Malta, 126, 127, 129- 
136, 232, 259 

Marlow's imitators works-continued 
The Massacre at Paris: with the 
Death of the Duke of Guise, 139- 
The Passionate Sheepheard to his 

loue, 105-108 

trans, of Lucan's Pharsalia, 30-32 
Thorpe's edition of PharsaKa, 

translations from Ovid, 24-27 
echoes of in his writing, 68, 105, 

123, 190 

Tatnburlaine the Great: 
First part of t 16, 22. 34, 53, 58- 

61, 62, 63, 75, 116, 259 
Second part of, 58, 59-62, 63, 

64, 65-72 
translation of VirgiFs Aeneid, 36, 


Mary, Countess of Pembroke, see Pem- 
broke, Countess of 
Mary Stuart Queen of Scotland, 4, 5, 

36, 55 

Massacre at Paris, The, etc., see Guise 
Maugham, Somerset, 255 
Maunder, Henry, 188, 191 
McKerrow, Nashe, 257 
Menaphon, Robert Greene, see Greene, 


Merchant of Venice, The, Shakespeare, 
53, 132, 133, 135; see also Jew of 

Meres, Francis, Palladis Tamia, 245 
Mexia, Pedro, 16, 58; see also Tan* 

burlaine I, source 

Microcosmographie, John Earle, 247 
Milton, John, 31, 121, 256 
Moore, John, n, 28, 29 
More, Sir Thomas, 180-182, 261 
More, The Booke of Sir Thomas, 

Dr. S. A. Tannenbaum, 259 
Morte D f Arthur, see Malory 
Munster, 102 
Musaeus. The Divine poem of, see 

Chapman, George 

Nashe, Thomas 

at Cambridge, 16, 19 

and Dido, 255-256 

and Gabriel Harvey, 149, 151, 163- 

and Marlowe, 77, 78, 81, no, 128, 


Fovre Letters Confuted, 163-166 
Have With You to Saffron-Walden, 


Preface to Menaphon, 77-78 
Svmmers Last Will and Testament, 


Nashe, McKerrow, 257 
Newgate, 95, 96, 99 
New Letter of Notable Contents, A, 

etc., Gabriel Harvey, 228, 229 
Nicholls, Allen, 137 
The Nimphs Reply to the Sheepheard, 

Sir Walter Raleigh, 106-107 
Norton Folgate, see Liberties of London 
Norton, John, 87 



Of Human Bondage, Somerset 

Maugham, 255 
Old Bailey, 97-98 
Old Testament, 23; see also Marlowe, 


Olivef, Thomas, 87 
OrreU, George, 88 
Ortelius, Theatnun Orbis Terrarum, 16, 

58, 69; see also Marlowe, sources 
Ovid, 24-27, 68, 105, 123, 190; see 

also, Marlowe, works 

Palladis Tamia, Francis Meres, 245 
Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, 14, 

scholarships to Cambridge, 14-15 
Parker, John, 14, 15 
Parker, Life of, Strype, 255 
Passionate Sheepheard to his lone, The, 
Marlowe, 31, 32, 232 

critical comment, 108 

Imitations of. 108 

Raleigh's, The Nimphs Reply, 107 

source, 105 

text, 1 06 
Paul, F., Marlowe and the Heavy 

Wrath of God, 263 
Peele, George 

Arraignment at Paris, 37 

David and Bethsabe, 63 

Edward I, 63 

The Honour of the Garter, 230 
Pembroke, Mary, Countess of, 146-148, 


Pembroke's Men, 172 
Percy, Henry, gth Earl of Northumber- 
land, 109 
Perimedes, the Blacke-smith, see Greene, 


Pharsalia, Lucan's, see Marlowe, works 
Philip II of Spam, see Armada, The 

Spanish, and Elizabeth, Queen 
Plays in London, description of, in 
Plutarch, 256 

Poley, Robert, 55-56, 202-209 
Privy Council, 5, o, 40, 57 182, 188, 

X9X, 194, 202, 203, 2IO, 21 X, 2X7 

Members of, 183 
Acts of the Privy Council, 255 
Puckering, Sir John, 194* 2x9, 220-222, 
223-225, 226 

Rabelais, 143, 227, 257 
Raleigh, Carew, 211-217 
Raleigh, Sir Walter, 179-180, 258, 262 

and Marlowe, 104-1x0, 199-201 

and Queen Elizabeth, 101-02 

and Spenser, 102-103 

table talk, 211-217 

The Nimphs Reply to the Sheepheard, 

Read, Conyers, Mr. Secretary Walsing- 

ham, 255 

Reinoso, Rpdrigp, log, 258 
Religio Laid, John Dryden, 261 
Rervm Vngaricarvm Decades Qvattuor, 

Antonius Bonfinius, 65-60 
Rheims, 5-8, 39, 55 
Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, 93, 135 

Rowland, Humphrey, 96-98 
Royden, Matthew, 109, 221, 225 
Rudierde, Edmund, The Thunderbolt of 

God's Wrath against Hard-Heart* 

ed and stiff-necked sinners: 246- 

Sackville, Thomas, Lord Buckhurst, 

Tragedie of Ferrex and Porrex, 

Saffron-balden Have With You to, see 

Nashe, Thomas 

St. Bartholomew's Eve, S> 139, 142, see 
also, Marlowe, Works, Massacre 
at Paris 

St. John's College, Cambridge, 77 
St. Paul's, 49, 75, 82, 168 
Scadbury Manor, 45, 54, 5$ I75 177, 

191, 203, 233, 242 
Seneca, 79 
Seven deadlie Sinns of London, Dekker, 


Shakespeare, William, 129, 252, 258- 
259, 263, see also, 

names of plays 

author, insurrection scene?, 182 
and Richard Burbage, 51 
and Robert Greene, 75, 156, 167-169, 

and Marlowe, xiii, 37-38, 61-63, 173, 

I7S, 177, 230-232, 237-240 
and iew of Malta, 132-133, 135 
Sonnets, 52, 237-240, 241 
The Shakespeare Apocrypha, Brooke 
Sherme, Zachary, 86 
Shoreditch, 51, 58, 74, 82, 137, 162 
Sidney, Sir Philip, 5, 17 
Sign of the Bishop, S6, 88 
Silva de varia Ieci6n t see Tamburlaine 

1, source 

Skeres, Nicholas, 56, 202-206, 208, 209 
Southwark, 45, 51, 52, 53, 62, nx, 129, 


Spanish Tragedie, The, see Kyd, Thomas 
Spenser, Edmund, 16-18, 101-104, 163, 

228, 229 

The Faerie Queen, 17, 103, 104 
Stanneries, Lord Warden of, 102 
Stanley, Ferdinando, Lord Strange, see 

Strange, Lord 

Stevens, Thomas Hariot and his Asso- 
ciates, 258 
Strange, Lord and his men, 126, 129, 

Stratford, 62 

Svmmers Last Will and Testament, see 

Nashe, Thomas 
Summing Up, The, Somerset Maugham, 

Surrey, Earl of (Henry Howard), trans. 

of Aeneid, 38 
Sussex, Countess of, 226 
Swift, Hugh, 88, 89, 257 
Stuart, Mary, Queen of Scotland, see 

Mary Stuart 

Survey of London, Stow, 256 
Tamburlaine the Great, Marlowe 
The First Part, 22, 34, 75, n6, 2$$ 
Alieyn as Tamburlaine, 53 
analysis of, 60-6 x 


Tainbvrlaine the Great Marlowe 


first presentation, success, 62, 63 
sources, 16, 58 
The Second Part: 61, 64, 100, 104, 

analysis, 66-72 
and Doctor Faustus, 68-69 
sources, 65-69 

Tannenbaum, Dr., Samuel A., xvi, 261 
Assassination of Christopher Marlowe, 

The, 262 

Booke of Sir Thomas More, 259 
Theatre of Gods ludjements, see Beard 


Theatres, Elizabethan: 
Cockpit, 249 
Curtain, 51, 58, 82, 247 
Rose, S3, 6*. i"f 3 "5. *, l*4t 

129, 136 

The Theater, 51, 58, 62, 82 
Theatrical Records, 263 
Theatrum Orbis Terrarwn, see Ortelius 
A Theological Discourse of the Lamb of 
God, etc., Rev. Richard Harvey, 
80-8 1 

Thorpe, Thomas, 241-242 
Three Proper, and voittie, familiar Let- 
ters, see Harvey, Gabriel 
Thunderbolt of God's Wrath, see Rtf- 

dierde, Edmund 
Titus Andronicus, The Tragedie of, 

Topping, Richard, '40 
Tragedie of Dido, Queewe of Carthage, 
The, Marlowe, 35, 353, 256 

analysis, 32-34 

source, 32 

Trask. Willard R., xvi, 258 
Trcnchard, Sir George, 211, 215 

Trevelyan, George Macaular, A Short' 

ened History of England, 261 
Tyler, Frank W., 255 
Tyllney, Sir Edmund, 181, i8a 

Vaughan, William, The Golden Grove, 

Villon, Francois, 121, 152 

Villon t FrangoiSj D. B. Wyndham 
Lewis, 259 

Virgil, Aeneid, 24, 32- 

Virginia, A brief e and true report of the 
new found land of, Thomas Har- 
riot, 1 08 

Walsingham, Audrey, 54, 233, 234, 236 
Walsingham, Sir Francis, 4, 5, 6, 55, 

Mr. Secretary Walsingham, Conyers 

Read, 255 

Walsingham, Thomas, 6, 19, 45, 54, 
SS, 56, 80, 141, 188, 189, 191, 

r 1* *?' *i 3 ' *J3-*34 

Walton, Izaak, 108 

Warner, Walter, 109, 221 

Watson, Thomas, 54-55, *39, 146, 148, 

149-150, 257 
feud with Bradley and duel in Hog 

Lane, 87-100 
Amintae Gaudia, 146-147 
Whitgift, Archbishop, 194 
Wolverton, 211 
Wood, Anthony a, Athenae Oxonienses, 

247, 256 

Wordsworth, William, 31 
Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 35 
>Vyld, Stephen, 92 

Young, Justice Richard, 210